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Tue, Aug 01


Var Gallery 5th Street

David Najib Kasir Artist Talk

Join us Tuesday to get an in-depth look into David's current exhibit at Var Gallery 5th street, "Neighborhoods in Subtraction"

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David Najib Kasir Artist Talk
David Najib Kasir Artist Talk

Time & Location

Aug 01, 2023, 6:00 PM – Aug 02, 2023, 7:30 PM

Var Gallery 5th Street, 423 W Pierce St #1704, Milwaukee, WI 53204, USA

About the Event

"Neighborhoods  in Subtraction" is an exhibition that interrogates the role Western  media plays in constructing cultural narratives, while centering a  caring and concerning lens on the destruction of Syria and its people  through large-scale paintings.

For  Kasir, the works start from a personal place. “Iraq is my father’s  country, and Syria is my mother’s as well as the second home of my  youth. It is where my aunts, uncles and cousins are still living. It is  where there are buildings where I slept in and streets where I played  tag and other games as a child. I’ve witnessed years of destruction of  my countries from US invasion, with very little regard from Western  mainstream media to civilian casualties.”

This  personal experience fueled Kasir’s anger and frustration, and gives way  to large-scale paintings that place the viewer in the center of the  neighborhood experiencing destruction. The viewer is confronted with  encounters between civilians and soldiers, families embracing each other  as they look on at the fallen buildings and rubble.

Making  visible what happens to civilians is the intent of “Neighborhoods in  Subtraction” and is placed in the larger context of cultural  significance through the use of Arab design elements.  As Kasir  explains, “I entrap the Syrian landscapes in Arab mosaic patterns, not  as a backdrop, but as a culture of people trying to hold up their  structured environment as best as they can with little to no help from  others.”

“Neighborhoods  in Subtraction" questions how much devastation can be endured before  the Western media starts to care. Kasir shares “I worked to create an  awareness and concern of wars and families who have lived in lands of  conflict that have terrorized their lives for years. A country that has  been ravaged by Soviet bombings and attacks but is not getting the media  attention, care and humanity that a dominantly white country would  receive. Through these works, I create an environment that invites  viewers to stand in the middle of a neighborhood that once housed  families. A neighborhood that no longer looks like the streets I played  in as a child.”

David Najib Kasir,  a Milwaukee-based painter whose work is comprised of personal  narratives and cultural history or events. In recent years, Kasir's work  draws on stories from his parents’ journey to the U.S. and the current  crisis from where they migrated (his mother migrated from Syria, and his  father, Iraq). As an artist born here, Kasir reveals his cultural  identity in paint and designs to inform viewers on the recent wars in  Syria, in hopes of helping them develop an understanding of the millions  of voiceless Arabs now living in chaos and disarray.

By  using beautiful traditional Arab designs called Zellige to dress the  figures in his work, Kasir shows the beauty of a culture and the tragedy  as families try to hold on to it and each other as everything around  them falls apart.

Kasir  has a BFA in painting from Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design  (2001) and is the proud father of two young adult daughters (one being  an artist themselves).

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