Basma al-Sharif
Erman Ata Uncu, "Crossing the borders with two exhbitions in Istanbul" [EN]

Basma Alsharif, born in Kuwait and raised in France and U.S., is based in Cairo at present, and her exhibition presents the ways in which she comes to terms with her
status as a member of the Palestinian diaspora. The title of one of her installations, Trompe l’Oeil, which transfers the artist’s living room in California to SALT Galata’s first floor, explicitly speaks for the whole exhibition with its allusions to the construction of reality. The work, composed of furniture pieces, wall murals and a video, provides the viewer with glimpses of the artist’s daily life activities, as well as the historical context with regards to her diasporic existence as a Palestinian living abroad. While the video presents the artist engaged in her daily life—cooking, caressing her partner, working on archival images—the murals depicting her living room feature details, through which the viewer is encouraged to confront the colonial past of the Middle East, embodied in three photographs hung on the wall and taken from the archive of T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), a crucial figure in the history of West’s interference in the region. The introductory text of the exhibition specifically draws attention to Alsharif’s use of these images without permission, a detail echoing the artist’s search for a narrative outside the officially acknowledged accounts of the events that led to the dispersion of Palestinians around the world.