Raafat Majzoub: GROUNDS | Curated by Artemis Akchoti Shahbazi

January 15—February 20, 2022
Wednesday—Saturday, 1pm—6pm
BCA Mills Gallery, 551 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02116

Opening Reception and Curatorial Walkthrough
Friday, January 21 • 6pm—9pm

Since 2012, Raafat Majzoub (SMACT ’17) has been writing “an autobiography of another Arab world” titled The Perfumed Garden. Performative excerpts of this novel have been published internationally through film, video, audio, textual, and public installations. The work produces fictions that compete with the status quo and plants them in public as new realities. For Majzoub, The Perfumed Garden is an act of claiming power. Published in pieces in Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Belgium, Italy, Latvia, Russia and the USA, the novel is an act of claiming grounds and agency in defiance of an increasingly homogenizing and bordered world.

Marking a decade of The Perfumed Garden, GROUNDS brings together a selection of excerpts to weave a conversation with visitors about intimacy and collaboration, and to inspire a meditation on collective futures.

The exhibition is an invitation to reconsider truth as multiple. To change. To engage. And to share. It presents grounds for the validity of our collective fictions and creates new grounds for shared realities to come.

Please touch the work. Add to it.
The exhibition objects will be integrated in Majzoub’s ongoing project.

For the duration of the show, the Mills Gallery is transformed into an interactive space, inviting visitors to add their narrative to the work and expand the grounds of Majzoub’s Perfumed Garden. GROUNDS can be seen as a living book chapter where the gallery, the visitors, and the artworks act as invitations to visitor participation in writing the novel. The exhibition objects will be integrated in Majzoub’s ongoing research on building worlds that fit the love and dreams of their people.

Raafat Majzoub: GROUNDS is the third exhibition in the 1:1 Curatorial Initiative series presented in the Mills Gallery at Boston Center for the Arts. Each exhibition in this series presents a collaborative project between one curator and one artist, and either introduces a new artist or highlights a new aspect of a more experienced artist.

Quote from the artist Raafat Majzoub “I’m critical of how we use the terms reality and fiction. I do not see them as opposites. Reality is a form of fiction that has been activated by power structures that benefit from it. Power structures decide what you think is real. My work in fiction is positioned in this reality-making process. I am not only interested in the imagination, but also in the reification of alternate possibilities. Writing becomes a form of architecture. And fiction can be seen as a tool for collective worldmaking that is intimate, speculative and political.”

“…I like the idea of interruptions. When you insert something… be it an object or a story… in a public space that doesn’t necessarily fit, you invite people to go outside the rules of that space, and engage with new stories. Interruptions are windows to other possibilities. I’m curious about how these interruptions compete with agreed upon “reality” and how they can influence them. What happens when someone proposes an idea? What happens when more people subscribe to it? How can communities challenge stories imposed on them? I find all of this very exciting.”