Tania El Khoury: Gardens Speak - Review

23rd February 2016 at 12:19

Review by Ramzi Mallat

Ramzi Mallat provides an account of his experience of Gardens Speak. 

'It was really an impacting experience. I think it was one of the most emotionally gut-wrenching experiences I had, it affected me on such a deep level, more so than any news coverage witnessed or even a life event I had experienced relating to the events in Syria. To be so close to someone you never knew and be able to intimately listen to their story, while succumbing to mimicking the position of their corpse on the ground, was a means of getting past the physical boundaries of the distance between the U.K and Syria as well as life and death. I also felt very disturbed after the whole experience. This might be because I’ve witnessed this war happen first-hand and believe in what the Syrian people are fighting for as well as understood all of the arabic resistance chants.

When I had to write a letter hoping that Bassel’s family would read it, I strongly believed that what he had done for his country was the bravest and most honourable action any citizen can do for the country he loves. I even wrote the letter in arabic so that they would know that there are people all around the world that fight for this injustice and believe and support them through their toughest times. I was not able to compose myself for quite a while afterwards and I even had to ask the People’s Pavillion directors for a break seeing as I was one of their volunteers.

I believe that Tanya had exemplified and highlighted the events in Syria in such a distinct manner that any person that succumbs to this experience is surely forever marked by the emotions portrayed in each story. In my perspective, the artist is a genius in relating the bareness of the events by affecting all the senses of the participant as well as implicating them so fully in the political crisis Syria is facing. I applaud her for portraying the situation so realistically and hope that this installation will be able to be politically radical and reveal the inhumanity of such a political system.

I will never see the events happening in Syria the same even though I have lived and experienced this revolution in person every day since its beginning in Lebanon.'

Gardens Speak was presented as part of Festival of Questions [2.2.16-20.2.16]