I don’t belong here
I DON’T BELONG HERE أنا لا أنتمي الى هنا
Artist: Hamja Ahsan
In 2019, the artist Hamja Ahsan was awarded the Grand Prize of the 33rd Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts for his work Aspergistan Referendum. The artist invited visitors to the Biennial to vote in a referendum on whether they should join Aspergistan, an independent country of shy, introverted and autistic people. 72 per cent of the voters supported the artist’s proposal. With this call for autonomy, Hamja Ahsan breathed back into his art project Shy Radicals the rebellious character from which the project had sprung a few years earlier.
The project dates back to a few years before the publication of Ahsan’s book Shy Radicals: The Antisystemic Politics of the Militant Introvert (2017), a satirical work in which the author bases his critique of the hegemony of the dominant culture on the foundations of the anti-colonial theory in the context of a new world order that emerged with the so-called War on Terror as a result of the attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States. What was originally presented as an international campaign to destroy Al-Qaeda has led to a severe setback in democracy under the pretext of an untenable just war theory that places security above freedom and civil liberties and presupposes the existence of second-class citizens, racism and Islamophobia as defence strategies against the enemy allegedly hiding in our social network.
The exhibition toys with the positive outcome of the referendum at that time and shows the history of this activist movement against the dominance of the extroverts. It ironically addresses the repressive aspects of the state apparatus, the enforced polarisation of society and the relevance of individual initiative to bring about the necessary radical changes in the community.
The 34th Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts: Iskra Delta
Exhibition of the Grand Prize Recipient of the 33rd Biennial of Graphic Arts Ljubljana
ZVKDS Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia
10 September – 21 November 2021
Artistic Director: Nevenka Šivavec
Production: International Centre of Graphic Arts
Support: The Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana, The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Municipality of Ljubljana
Photos: Klemen Ilovar. MGLC Archive.
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