This autumn, VHDG presents an exhibition by Palestinian-Dutch artist Susanne Khalil Yusef; Café Disorient: Sound of the Camp. The exhibition is both the final stop and the presentation of Susanne’s travels throughout Friesland she did during the summer of 2022. During this journey she brought Café Disorient, a colourful café on wheels, to our province. Come and visit the exhibition between the 21st of October and the 13th of November and step into the bright and disorientating world of Susanne.
Café on the Road
In the fashion of our SRV-residencies, Susanne hit the road with her Café Disorient. In the course of five weeks Susanne constantly visited new places and invited new people to her colourful café. Among other places, Café Disorient appeared at refugee camps where music was played, coffee was served and unexpected encounters with local communities took place.
Susanne carried her own stories with her, closely related to that of the refugees. Stories about the loss of your homeland, displacement through conflict and resistance against aggression and oppression. The café became a place of connection and of community, a place where a feeling of home could be recalled by those who had lost theirs.
From Stories to Artifacts
In her art practice, Susanne explores different ways to transform stories and events into images and symbols. She experiments with a wide array of materials: aluminum, clay, bronze and murals, which together form a broad spectrum of experiences, associations and narrations.
After an intensive journey Susanne brought the stories she gathered to Langweer Glass Studio, well known for its craftsmanship and techniques in glass fusing. In the studio she merged the experiences from her travels in Friesland now for the first time in glass artworks. All of these artworks will be shown during the exhibition Café Disorient: Sound of the Camp which will take place in artspace H47.
The exhibition is a varied collection of symbols, artifacts and archive material. At first glance her work seems light-hearted and playful. On closer look however, the work refers to tragic events closely related to stories of resistance, of people who struggle for their right to live in a safe environment. She asks critical questions about themes such as colonialism, identity and geopolitical power relations.
As a third generation refugee from Palestine, Susanne started collecting books and films
and other objects from the recent history of the Palestine people. She also began making new artifacts that commemorate and symbolize these events. The history of Palestine has been shaped heavily by the founding of the state of Israel, which led to a war that caused nearly one million Palestinians to flee and be deprived of home and country. The consequences of this are often referred to with the term Al-Nakba (catastrophe or disaster).
“Joy is an act of resistance.”
The poet Toi Derricotte once said: “Joy is an act of resistance.” This thought formed the basis of Susanne’s approach during her travels, and the idea will also manifest itself in the exhibition. Her playful installation, colourful sculptures and warm concerts opened new doors for addressing and discussing difficult and painful topics in a safe and welcoming environment.
Come to the opening of the exhibition on the 21th of October in Kunstruimte H47, and be the first to visit the new exhibition by VHDG. In the tradition of the traveling café, Susanne will serve Arabic tea and looks forward to new, meaningful encounters with the visitors.
Previously, Susanne has hosted Café Disorient at several other places, among which are Valkhof Museum, WORM Rotterdam, Sonsbeek Festival and De Fabriek Eindhoven. We are very happy we could bring her café not only to VHDG, but to the whole province of Friesland!
What: Opening exhibition #SRV 8: Susanne Khalil Yusef
Where: Kunstruimte H47 (Haniasteeg 47 in Leeuwarden)
When: Friday 21st of October at 16:00
Opening Times Exhibition
Wednesday through Sunday – 12:00 until 17:00
Design: Natalia Papaeva Supported by: Mondriaan Fonds, Gemeente Leeuwarden, Provincie Fryslan, Old Burger Weeshuis, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Ritske Boelema Fonds, Stichting Stokroos en het VBS Fonds