A new wind is blowing across the Western world, even in the margins of the liberal left. A new wind that affects even those who until recently still believed in sharing equality and mutual respect with the other and commended the idea of multiculturalism.
A new wind is blowing across the Western world, even in the margins of the liberal left. A new wind that affects even those who until recently still believed in sharing equality and mutual respect with the other and commended the idea of multiculturalism. Cracks can now be found in the pillars supporting the Western ideologies that called for liberty and freedom of religion of the other living among them.
Europe awakens to a reality of a revolt on the side of its Muslim citizens, who were educated on the values and culture of the West. Muslims who recently immigrated to Europe join them and in a collective revolt they turn to the street to demonstrate and demand their right for religious equality and recognition as equal citizens.
The acknowledgment of the right for “liberty, equality, fraternity,” the motto of the French Revolution and a stepping stone in the history of Europe, was a founding moment that changed the face of society, granting it that precious freedom. And yet, in all probability the citizens of these countries had never foreseen that two hundred years later they would have to share this right with the mass of immigrants from Islamic countries who live among them today. Widespread objection to the Muslims’ different appearance, the traditional dress, the head covering, and other religious symbols attributed to them is emerging in the public sphere.
The Muslims, whose presence is increasingly noticed, sense discrimination and injustice, and do not hesitate to demonstrate. They do not necessarily feel grateful for the hospitality they have received in Europe. They also forgot the attitude toward liberty in their home countries. At any rate, they no longer feel like foreigners. The feeling of foreignness was replaced by a feeling of security for those who quickly adapted to the liberal spirit of the society into which they arrived and thereby, do not hesitate to demand an expression of Muslim law into local legislation.
The radical Muslim worldview, which has been quite influential on believing Muslims, is based on the writing of the founder and the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hasan al-Banna. In al-Banna’s book, Peace in Islam, a chapter focusing on the national movement calls every Muslim to await the promised sinking of the West and expect the realization of God’s vow of the rise of Islam. Al-Banna, who held the West responsible for the hardship of the Muslims, defined their treatment as cruel, arrogant, invading, occupying, and enslaving, and declared that its fate is to disappear from the world. He turns to those who believe in the Quran to remember that every place on earth where a Muslim lives will become an organic territory of the great nation, and the further its believers would wander the more this homeland will expand.
Al-Banna’s attitude and that of those to follow him, does indeed call Muslim believers to cross continents and establish communities across the world. In an age of globalization and mobility, everything is more accessible, and the move of whole communities from one side of the globe to another constantly takes place in front of humanity’s astonished eyes. The sight of migrant workers who wander to global economic centers and bring their families with them has become common. When the masses in Tunisia recently revolted against their corrupt government, leaders across Europe praised them. But when thousands of Tunisians started arriving at the ports of Italy and Malta as refugees, shortly after the revolution broke out, the Europeans were not thrilled.
The first country to quickly act against the flow of refugees was France, sending police officers to board trains between Italy and France in order to check immigrants’ identification papers and see whether they have return tickets. Now Denmark is taking another controversial step, announcing that the country will resume passport control in its borders with Germany and Sweden in order to supervise who is getting into the country.
The exhibition WESTEND was formed considering these events.
WESTEND invites its viewers to partake in an experience as it is happening, and to examine the different approaches of artists who created their works in the abovementioned space of conflict. To walk between struggles for honor, faith, and prestige weighted down by suspicion, and to look closely at the maze of hostility that led two civilizations to an existential struggle on power and control of the world of tomorrow. Visiting the exhibition will, for a moment, blur the border between imagination and reality. The images from the streets that are reflected on television screens pervade the exhibition halls, are affected by them, and interfere with them. The works that react to this reality do not pass judgments, but rather, open another debate within this reality.
Raphie Etgar, Curator
Curator, Raphie Etgar
Andrei Molodkin, Russia
James Clar, USA
Ahmed Alsoudani, Iraq/Germany
Martha Rosler, USA
Christian Philipp Müller, Switzerland
Sara Rahbar, Iran/USA
Thomas Hirschhorn, Switzerland
Gilbert & George, Great Britain
Jota Castro, Republic of Peru / Belgium
Adel Abidin, Iraq / Finland
Leila Pazooki, Iran
Mounir Fatmi, Morocco
Joshua Neustein, USA
Moataz Nasr, Egypt
Hank Willis Thomas, USA
Robert Kunec, Slovakia
Miki Kratsman, Israel
Walter Robinson, USA
Ala Ebtekar, USA
Merav Sudaey, Israel
Ahmed Mater, Saudi Arabia
Sven Kalden, Germany
Ann Messner, USA
David Krippendorff, Germany
Ido Abramsohn, srael