Nothing is Yours, Everything is You
Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne
In her exhibition ‘Nothing is Yours, Everything Is You‘, Melike Kara pre- sents new paintings in a sitespecific installation made of photographs from her extensive personal archive, which gathers family pictures as well as other sources. It serves as an unofficial historical documentation of the Kurdish dia- spora that has neither the means nor the resources to preserve its own history.
The bleachtreated and faded wallpaper based on archival images (vaster than sky, 2021) installed in the studio of Kölnischer Kunstverein captures rituals and tra- ditions, memories and narratives passed down from generation to generation, re- sisting oblivion. This imagery is also found on cushion objects leaning against the wall and stacked on top of each other (Bridge ties and collective memories, both 2021), which traditionally invite people to social gatherings and ceremonies in tea- houses and Alevi prayer houses. Generously occupying the exhibition spaces—in the lecture hall spread out on the floor as loose individual pages (to recall, 2021)— the images merge and overlap, forming an individual as well as collective memory.
Whether in the form of a triptych in the outdoor area of the second floor or freestanding in the Riphahnsaal, Kara’s paintings are gesturalabstract compo- sitions of hybrid forms and figures and draw on the formal language of Kur- dish tribes’ textiles, including a transcultural carpetknotting technique. Kara interweaves the history of Western painting with influences from indigenous cultures, thus overriding the outdated strict categorization of art and craft.
The 3-channel video installation calling together (2021) consists of intimate images and video recordings from the family environment and is set to folk music as well as poems written by the artist and read by her aunt in Kurdish. They are deliberately not translated here—an attempt to document a language that was banned in Turkey until 1991 and is also gradually being lost for this reason.
Emines garten – part zwei
Das Dorf die Generation dein Ehemann
trugen dazu bei das
lesen und schreiben dir fremd war
Geliebt hast du Mensch ärger dich nicht
Zazaki glitt dir so gekonnt von deinen Lippen
als hättest du niemals Angst gehabt Sie zu sprechen
Du hast tatsächlich die Räume erhellt
Es lag nicht daran, dass dein Vater ein bekannter Heiler war
auch nicht daran, dass dir von 3 Söhnen einer blieb
Das wilde junge kurdische Mädchen das einst durchbrannte
verließ dich nie
und tief im Innern warst du ungezähmter Stolz
Emine’s garden – part two
The village the generation your husband
Contributed to the fact that
Reading and writing were foreign to you
You had a great love for ludo
Zazaki rolled off your tongue so skilfully
As though you had never been scared to speak it
You really did light up the room
It wasn’t because your father was a well-known healer
Neither because out of 3 sons
You were left with one
The wild young Kurdish girl who once eloped
Never left you
And deep on the inside you were untamed pride
Baxçê Emina de – paçe dı
Dewe, Jenerasyon, mêrıkê to
Yi bi sebevê
Bêzar nêkerdena wenden u nustena to
To haskerdêne kayê “Mensch ärgere dich nicht” ra (Hêrs mebe yaw!)
To Zazaki zaf rındek ardêne’ra zon.
Sayê ke tersê to qe çinebi, her cade qesey kerdêne.
To raşt ki dormey pêro kerdi ve roşti
No durum, dewresê piyê tora nêbi Hirê lazunê tora ki nêbi
Cıra torê jükek (wes) mend.
A çêneka kurda hova ke esq biye (vêsê) şiye
Aye tı coru xovira nêkerda
U tı serê zerria mıde anuro de har biya.
Wildnis der Füße / Sanftmut im Wort
Wiege aller Großmütter
Zere mi veseno
Mögen unsere ganzen Geschichten
in einen Satz passen
nicht mehr viel übrig bleibt außer
In allen Tönen
den Teppich zurechtrückend
die Hoffnung ihren Platz findet.
Wilderness of feet / gentleness in the word
Cradle of all grandmothers
Zere mi veseno
May all of our stories
fit into one sentence
that not much is left
except a free and unwritten soul
floating in a light void
in all tones
adjusting the carpet
hope finds its place.
Beriya lıngu / Qese de delaliye
Dergusa pêro Dêk u Pirıku;
Zerrê mı vêseno
Pêro hêkatê ma ke zerê jü Çekuye kutêne
Hên bo ke
Qe thawa peyde memano
Rowo ke qe thawa ser nênuşiyo
Thola sen’kêke ser
Pêro rengu de
Xali biya pêser,
va şêro hurêndia xo Omêdiye de bivêno.