Resilience Exile Mutation (REM) is both a visual tale of his life’s work and an exploration of a unique aesthetic; neither here nor there, Dema’s work shines in its singularity. Like many of us, Dema has always felt in between, at the crossroads of various distinct identities and simply refused to choose a side. His works are vibrant expressions of calligraphy, graffiti, poetry and language. With each piece Dema blurs the lines between, sometimes overwhelmingly tragic, 21st century geopolitics and his humorous view of the futility of existence. Dema not only embraces his intersectionality, he sees it, in all its complexity, as his truest self.
REM is a collaboration with P21 Gallery, a space supporting learning and storytelling of Arab art and culture through dialogue and tolerance. Dema invades the gallery’s unique architecture and makes it his canvas. On it he paints his family’s journey from Morocco to Belgium and their life in Brussels. The exhibition tells one of the millions of stories of geographic displacement and internal exile that can be found in a city like London, a buzzing colourful metropolis home to an incredible array of cultures. REM is curated to shine a light on the city’s hidden gems, the stories that its inhabitants rarely share and if so only within the safety of family. Stories of resilience and exile, whose protagonists always end up changed. REM is an opportunity to hear those journeys and understand the strength of diversity. It is the first step in a long-term project around identity and wellbeing, it is more than just an exhibition, it is a platform for communication, partnerships and storytelling for anyone and everyone who relates.
REM is an open call to young artists who want to expand the art space, it is a shout out to tellers of tales in search of an audience and to teachers with a thirst for learning.
DemaOne is a Belgian-Moroccan visual artist born and raised in Brussels, 30 years ago he started an exploration of art and identity. His work ranges from calligraphic experimentation using ink and paper, to elaborate 30ft tall murals. It has taken him all over the world, from Rio to Dubai, DC to Dakar he holds exhibitions and workshops all the while making connections and having conversations. He spends the rest of his time organising artistic events and activities for children, teenagers and vulnerable people in his hometown of Brussels. He works on a regular basis with the BOZAR museum and strives for a more inclusive art space; in his neighbourhood as well as abroad.
Ghazaleh (Zalia) Zogheib curated REM using her experience as a linguist and a teacher, at the intersection of knowledge and leisure. She believes that great things can come of very little, that what appears small and insignificant can be infinitely rich and complex and REM embodies that idea. It started two years ago inside a repurposed shipping container in Brixton. Back then it was simply a conversation on art, education and the absurdity of existence between two people with the shared belief that no box is big enough to contain anyone.
Join us this August at P21 for workshops and events and help us transform a simple exhibition into a citywide conversation. Take it a step further and redesign the Art space using digital platforms to create accessible, interactive and inclusive exhibitions. With this in mind, we invite you to enhance this exhibition by posting your thoughts, pictures, sound bites on internal exile using #REM_P21 on Twitter and Instagram and find out more @Demacnn
“I am from there. I am from here.
I am not there and I am not here.
I have two names, which meet and part, and I have two languages.
I forget which of them I dream in.”
For further exhibition information, press images and interview opportunities, please contact the gallery: email@example.com, or Ghazaleh (Zalia) Zogheib: firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening times: Tuesday – Friday 12–6pm, Saturday 12–4pm, and Wednesdays until 8pm | www.p21.gallery | www.facebook.com/P21Gallery | Twitter @P21Gallery | 21 Chalton Street, London, NW1 1JD Nearest tube: Euston or King’s Cross St. Pancras, T. +44 (0) 20 7121 6190, E. email@example.com