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Sat, Jun 17

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Milwaukee

Opening Reception: Neighborhoods in Subtraction by David Najib Kasir

"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 in times of war through large-scale paintings.

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Opening Reception: Neighborhoods in Subtraction by David Najib Kasir
Opening Reception: Neighborhoods in Subtraction by David Najib Kasir

Time & Location

Jun 17, 2023, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Milwaukee, 423 W Pierce St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, USA

About the Event

Join Var Gallery for the opening reception of “Neighborhoods in Subtraction”, a solo exhibition of new works from David Najib Kasir at Var’s 5th Street location. The reception will take place on Saturday, June 17th, 6 - 9 PM CST.

"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 in times of war 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 were 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 first hand 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.”

Image: David Najb Kasir, Exponential Decay & Barbed Wire Denominators, 2022, Oil & Acrylic on Panel, 48 x 60in.

Opening Reception: Saturday, June 17, 2023, 6PM - 9PM CST

On View: June 17 - August 6, 2023

Gallery Hours: Thursdays 12 - 5PM, Fridays 12 - 9 PM, Saturdays 12 - 5PM; Sundays 12 - 4 PM

Var Gallery on 5th: 423 W. Pierce Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204 USA

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