On Silence explores themes of postcolonial trauma and the ensuing decades of psychiatric 'repair' at the social and individual level. The artist's intention and curatorial approach is to provoke the viewer's emotional and physical experience while encountering works placed at various levels in the museum galleries, seen from above, from underneath, and from within but rarely straight on. There are two important commissions featured in connection with Doha.
Modern and contemporary history holds some of the noisiest tragedies that humanity has lived through, and our present moment is affected by the traumatic memories of these events. Colonialism, political oppression and environmental devastation have led to massive migrations across continents, transforming social ecologies in every centre of the world. Yet the ideologies and systems of governance today continue to create zones of silence that bury many of these histories.
This exhibition reflects on silence – a phenomenon that can trigger the need to scream – through works that provoke a visceral appreciation of postcolonial trauma and the process of psychiatric 'repair'. Focusing on Attia's practice over the last two decades, the show deals with topics affecting all humanity while looking specifically at the Middle East and North Africa. In this region the 'deafening silence' on cultural, social and historical issues is transforming taboos and limited spaces of expression into challenges to public life and political debate.