Poetry and exile 
works by Abdallah Benanteur, Ipek Duben, Mireille Kassar, Mona Saudi and Canan Tolon

1 October 2014 – 1 March 2015

Recommend this exhibition

When you are in your home, you don’t glorify home: you don’t feel its importance and its intimacy, but when deprived of home, it turns into a need and a lust, as if it is the ultimate aim of the whole journey.

Mahmoud Darwish (1941 – 2008).

This display, drawn from recent acquisitions of works by artists of the Middle East and North Africa at the British Museum, explores the effects of exile through the eyes of five artists.

There are many forms of exile expressed here. For Canan Tolon, it is exile from her home in Istanbul as a result of contracting polio as a child, the story of which she evokes in Futur Imparfait. Ipek Duben’s book Refugee, with its delicate gauze pages, belies the terror and helplessness of people forced to flee their homeland. Mona Saudi and Abdallah Benanteur combine the powerful verses of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish with drawings, while Mireille Kassar conjures a story of exile from her own family history and the Persian poem The Conference of the Birds.

The acquisition of these works has been supported by CaMMEA, a fund set up to support acquisitions of modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art. Canan Tolon’s Futur Imparfait is additionally supported by SAHA.

Detail of a cosmology manuscript. Burma, late 1800s

Mona Saudi, Homage to Mahmoud Darwish 1979. 2014,6026.1 (Funded by CaMMEA Contemporary and Modern Middle Eastern Art acquisition group)