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HIWAR in Amman © Photo: Haupt and Binder, Universes in Universe

From left to right:  Adriano Pedrosa (curator of HIWAR), Daniela Ortiz, Hrair Sarkissian, Eline van der Vlist (artistic director of Darat al Funun, at that time), Thabiso Sekgala, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Nguyên Phuong Linh, Maria Taniguchi, Clara Ianni, Jonathas de Andrade, Asunción Molinos Gordo
© Photo: Haupt & Binder, Universes in Universe

HIWAR in Amman

Adriano Pedrosa has been appointed artistic director and curator of the 60th International Art Exhibition of the Biennale di Venezia, which will take place in 2024. On this occasion, we recall an interesting project he curated in 2013-14 at Darat al-Funun in Amman. Most of the artists involved in it have since become internationally known, and perhaps some of them will be encountered again in the 2024 Venice Biennale.

HIWAR - Conversations in Amman was an exhibition, residencies, and talks program organized by Darat al Funun to celebrate 25 years of support for the arts. HIWAR brought 14 artists from the Arab world, Africa, Asia, and Latin America to Amman for residencies in September and October 2013, culminating in an exhibition that opened on 9 November 2013. The exhibition also featured works from The Khalid Shoman Collection by Abdul Hay Mosallam, Ahlam Shibli, Ahmad Nawash, Akram Zaatari, Amal Kenawy, Emily Jacir, Etel Adnan, Fahrelnissa Zeid, Hrair Sarkissian, Mona Hatoum, Mona Saudi, Mounir Fatmi, Nicola Saig, Rachid Koraïchi, and Walid Raad.

HIWAR (meaning conversation in Arabic) was born out of the necessity to promote exchanges between artists from the margins, not solely by juxtaposing their works in an exhibition or publication format, but also by giving them the possibility to learn from each other's practices and experiences. Large-scale exhibitions and biennales have brought together works from different regions beyond Euroamerica, yet often artists do not have a chance to immerse themselves in this exchange.

Adriano Pedrosa (curator of HIWAR, on the right), Bisan Abu-Eisheh
© Photo: Haupt & Binder, Universes in Universe

HIWAR proposed a more intense format, with a small number of artists spending a month in Amman in two sessions (in September and in October 2013). The focus was to develop conversations between the participants, who presented and discussed their work and context with their colleagues during the residencies, in the lead up to the exhibition. The core conversations were led by Adriano Pedrosa, curator of HIWAR, and Eline van der Vlist, artistic director of Darat al Funun at that time, proposing to avoid the format of the artist being invited to conduct a residency in order to make new work in response to the new locale in which s/he finds him or herself, and instead to learn in and from Amman - as well as from Beirut, Cairo, Cuzco, Hanoi, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Luanda, Manila, Mumbai, Ramallah, Recife, and São Paulo.

Daniela Ortiz explaining her work 31 Censored Issues.
From left to right: Rayyane Tabet, Hrair Sarkissian, Daniela Ortiz, Thabiso Sekgala, Asunción Molinos Gordo
© Photo: Haupt & Binder, Universes in Universe

There was no all encompassing theme or concept linking all the artists and their works in HIWAR beyond the artist's geo-cultural origins and positions (shifting as these may be). Yet, such positions were also somehow loaded and revealing. One could think along the lines of the Argentine semiotician Walter Mignolo, I Am Where I Think.

Bisan Abu-Eisheh, Jonathas de Andrade, Hemali Bhuta, Aslı Çavuşoğlu, Shuruq Harb, Clara Ianni, Saba Innab, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Asunción Molinos Gordo, Nguyên Phuong Linh, Daniela Ortiz, Thabiso Sekgala, Rayyane Tabet, Maria Taniguchi

Conversations at the margins
With Adriano Pedrosa, Bisi Silva, Pedro Léon de la Barra, Suha Shoman, and Vali Mahlouji

HIWAR photo tour

In 2013, we published an informative photo tour of the exhibition in Nafas Art Magazine, featuring works by all 29 participants in seven buildings of Darat al Funun:

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Address, opening hours

Darat al Funun

The Khalid Shoman Foundation
13 Nadeem al Mallah St.
Jabal al Weibdeh
Opening hours:
Sat - Thu 12 am - 7 pm
Fri closed

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