Architecture Of Memory:
Dena Al-Adeeb & Sama Alshaibi


January 12 ­– February 14, 2014

The vilification of one’s homeland caused by war, and ensuing displacement, memory, and commemoration — these are the compelling subjects approached in Architecture of Memory, an exhibition of three distinct projects that utilize video, photography, and performance.


Featuring two solo projects by Dena Al-Adeeb and a collaborative project by Dena Al-Adeeb and Sama Alshaibi, the exhibition most directly addresses the artists’ shared experiences with trauma and dislocation from Iraq. However, Al-Adeeb and Alshaibi speak to a broader historical perspective on the commonality of gendered loss and forced migration.

MECA’s first gallery space features Baghdadi Mem/Wars (2010), a collaborative video and photography series by Al-Adeeb and Alshaibi. The conceptual premise of Baghdadi Mem/Wars is rooted in the corporal, intellectual and emotional embodiment of war and displacement. The three suites (Still/Chaos, Efface/Remain, and Absence/Presence) emanate from the lived experiences of the artists and their personal bodily memories of a lifetime entrenched in an undying war. The narrative manifests and replays on the topography of body, memory, and spirit.

The adjacent gallery showcases Disturbance (2013), a triptych video and photography memoir by Al-Adeeb that functions as a cartographic device, charting the interconnections between three pivotal moments in contemporary Iraqi history and their relationship to a trilogy of personal and collective displacements.

Al-Adeeb will also present The Taste of Pomegranates (2014), a performance piece and video project that brings together a diverse group of diasporic Iraqis from various personal and professional backgrounds, including academia, journalism, gastronomy, and the arts over an intimate dinner at Mana Contemporary. The participants will each be asked to request a chosen dish, gastronomically bringing together diasporic Iraqis from different regions and religions together. The artist-choreographed banquet offers a critical engagement amongst the participants, rupturing their everyday experiences while shifting perceptions. The repast is used as a means to expose their shared histories of immigration, mourning, and creative practices, as well as to incite an encounter that is not always possible in a disjointed society.


Press Release

(1) Dena Al-Adeeb and Sama Alshaibi, Efface/Remain #2, 2010
(2) Dena Al-Adeeb and Sama Alshaibi, Still/Chaos, 2010
(3) Dena Al-Adeeb, Disturbance: 1990, 2013