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Arts Fort Worth

Exhibition: Saria Almidani - Broken

Opening Reception: April 7 , 6 – 9 p.m.

Exhibition Statement 

How do I grieve my fading memory? Why do I love a city that breaks me? Will I ever feel at home? Do exile wounds heal?

In 2014, Saria sought asylum after being exiled from Syria and became a refugee in Fort Worth.

Saria found themselves constantly trying and failing to process what had just happened to them: What did it mean to witness a revolution? One that the dictatorship used all kinds of weapons to silence and the international community ignored? One that still faces a theft of narrative? What did it mean to be forcibly displaced? To be exiled? To be taken away from one’s community & home? To seek refuge in a country where its asylum system forces people into a limbo state as they await their documents for countless years? A system that offers no programs, aid, or help? What did it mean to bear witness to friends crossing forests and getting on boats to cross the Mediterranean? What was it like to become a refugee in a city like Fort Worth? Amid the refugee crisis? To deal daily with people who complain about your existence to your face?

What does it mean to have one’s autonomy wholly taken away, life put on hold, and simply try and survive for almost a decade?

It took Saria many years to be able to articulate their questions. Questions they and many refugees face daily as they navigate the most complicated asylum systems. Saria explores the relationship between these personal questions and reflections with photography.

In March of 2021, on the 10th anniversary of the Syrian Revolution and the 7th anniversary of Saria’s exile, Saria revisited a series of photos they had captured in Damascus at the peak of the uprising. While the photographs are hazy, showcasing what it meant to hold a camera during that time around a city controlled by a dictatorship, they are also eccentric and intimate. They reveal a side of Damascus unlike what we often see from the state propaganda, foreign media, or the eye-pleasing angles of some touristic sites. They convey a personal side; the images were captured on the same day/night Saria spent wandering around Damascus with their best friend. They were 19, and while they always knew how politically intense the city they loved was, it was surreal to live all of it.

So surreal that Saria wanted to explore it visually and channel that electrifying sense through these photos; to deconstruct what is on their mind and capture it. Thus, they looked within to tell and reclaim a narrative, one that is raw and authentic. Using Arabic typography inspired by the ancient calligraphy medium, Saria places each question or statement on a revised photo.

Each statement is refined and edited to a poetic form that echoes through a carefully selected photo, making each work a mystifying image that draws one in and reveals something, perhaps asking them an uncomfortable question. Each photo carries a hazy sense, reflecting Saria’s reality. The curation of the entire body of work, also by Saria, creates Broken; Saria’s narrative; their story.

Broken asylum systems, broken political actions, and broken narratives, in no exaggeration, leave people like Saria completely broken. However, even if we are broken, our stories must serve as a visible resilience.

Artist Bio

Saria Almidani, born in Damascus, Syria, in 1993, was forcibly displaced from Syria in 2014 and sought asylum in the U.S. Saria works with multiple disciplines to create deeply personal visuals that capture what haunts them. Saria, a non-binary, working-class refugee stuck in endless asylum limbo, finds their reality constantly being told differently. They work to make sure they reclaim their own. Saria has exhibited in the Middle East, the U.S., and Europe and has worked on various curatorial projects. Saria is the Assistant to Chief Curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. They also co-founded Tayf Collective, a collective focused on documenting and exhibiting Syrian artists in exile, and have served on multiple juries and consultancies. They published nonfiction texts with multiple publications, such as Syria Untold & Jeem, and wrote for numerous theatre and podcast projects.

We invite the community to an opening reception at Arts Fort Worth Friday, April 7th from 6 to 8 p.m.


Official Site  

  • FREE!

Find This Event 1300 Gendy Street · Fort Worth, TX 76107