B.LA Art Foundation and Women without Borders are pleased to present Melike Kara's new exhibition "dayê, dayê" in their new and temporary gallery space in Vienna's first district - as well as online.
B.LA's unique mission continues with this exhibition: to present the work of women artists while donating all its proceeds to the international NGO Women without Borders, which was founded in 2001 by Dr. Edit Schlaffer and which engages women globally to end cycles of structural, psychological and physical violence.
The Cologne-based artist Melike Kara, who was born to a Kurdish-Alevi family, showcases a number of paintings and a video, accompanied by a poem, that circle around notions of belonging, identity, memory and heritage.
For her exhibition at B.LA Art Foundation, which Melike Kara titled "dayê, dayê" meaning "mother, mother" in Zazaki (mainly spoken by Alevi Kurds from the Dersim region), the artist pays tribute to her own roots, to past generations and especially her mother and grandmothers, who play a pivotal role in Kara's life and work.
In her very personal video work "Emine" (2018), Melike Kara portrays her grandmother, her everyday life and the struggle to lose her own identity in the face of her Alzheimer's disease. In doing so, the artist shows not only a confrontation with the loss that goes hand in hand with this disease, but also how certain memories, such as the lullaby "dayê, dayê", that her mother passed on to her and that she also sang for her own children, are deeply rooted in her memory.
Melike Kara's work is a deep dive into topics that affect all of us: our own roots and identity and the question of how much our own past influences our present moment. Kara questions how this experience is altered and magnified when forced to flee and leave one's homeland behind, when experiencing the persecution of one's culture and the collective pain arising out of this, and finally how to keep one's heritage alive through oral renditions, through memory and through passing it on from generation to generation.
Her new series of paintings are however not only a conceptual investigation of topics deeply entangled with her own identity and past experiences related to the Kurdish diaspora, but also aesthetically the artist's work is mirroring the impact of (fragmented) memories and notions of heritage: How much of our own past and our ancestor's past do we carry within ourselves?