Friday, 30 May 2014 15:56

Paris Petridis

East and West: Visualizing the Ottoman City
Curated by Leslie Hakim-Dowek
Duration: 06-30.06.2014

Peltz Gallery, Birckbeck College
43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD, UK

Curator’s foreword included in the exhibition’s catalogue:

Organised as the main impact event of the ‘Ottoman Past, Present Cities: Cosmopolitanism and Transcultural Memories’ Conference, this exhibition aims to provide a platform for exchanges between scholars, artists, archivists and curators to question interpretations and representations of the ex-Ottoman city so as to challenge orientalist depictions of the Ottoman Empire. It was our intention that this photographic exhibition, open to the public, should also attract a diverse audience and ensure impact beyond the academic community.

The exhibition brings together several lens-based practices, which focus on the legacies of and transitions from the Ottoman Empire and its multiple histories of diaspora and erasure through a range of approaches including documentary photography and archival-based practice. Other themes in the exhibition include the transformations and forgotten sites of Ottoman cities articulated through post and transcultural memories. One common departure point in all these series is the intersection of the individual and collective history across the generations and central to many of the works are ideas of how history, personal memory and identity can be articulated through visual art forms to reclaim neglected representations and make visible hidden histories of displacement.

Aleppo, Baghdad, Beirut, Istanbul and Salonica are names of ex-Ottoman cities that resonate around the world, often conjuring up a polarized view of either lands of antiquities or conflict-ridden territories beset by sectarian divides. The postcard images of these cities are surprisingly durable in projecting a romanticised view while, at the same time, their history of instability and conflicts is the only reality through which the international mass media perceives their social and cultural productions. In joining with the general consensus in the Middle East to counteract the latter, the artists in this exhibition choose to form their own ‘archives’ reclaiming visual spaces and by deviating from the dominant and monolithic narrative of the media, aim to highlight the multiplicity of narratives that made up these complex cities past and present.

Participating Artists:
Aikaterini Gegisian, Leslie Hakim-Dowek, Paris Petridis

For more information please click on the following link:

*Image caption: Paris Petridis, "Observatory, Great School of the Nation", from the "Rum-Orthodox Schools" series, 2006, inkjet print on archival paper, 75x60 cm, ed. of 5