Mounira Al Solh: Sperveri. 2017 Embroideries on textile, paint, and mixed media 400 × 110 × 220 cm
* 1978 Beirut, Lebanon.
From the fall of Constantinople in 1453 until the revolution that created modern Greece in 1821, the Greek peninsula was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Housed in a restored neoclassical villa, the Museum of Islamic Art was founded in 1931 from the collection of Antonis Benakis, whose Greek merchant family lived in Alexandria, where many of the objects were gathered, until the early twentieth century. The holdings of the museum, part of the broader Benaki Museum complex, now span twelve centuries of Islamic art.
Mounira Al Solh shows an embroidered tent that is suspended from the ceiling: an offering to and shelter for those lost in war and its violent displacements. The tent features embroidered floral elements, texts, leaves, and other fragile materials that link to traditional decorative elements originating from ancient, Byzantine, and Ottoman times. Inside the tent a low table offers a book filled with stories from the displaced people the artist has met in Athens and Kassel over the past year. (Text by documenta 14)