In her practice, Elham Rokni (*1980, Tehran, Iran; lives and works in Tel Aviv-Yafo) connects her personal experience as an immigrant to urgent political and ethical issues. She sees the migration of asylum seekers and refugees to Israel as a continuation of previous waves of immigration that characterized the history of this country. More specifically, the artist is interested in the notions of accessibility and free movement related to the dialectical development of globalization, namely, in the free movement of money, goods, services, and elites versus the reality in fortified nations and communities, surrounded by separation walls and other barriers.
Her project for CCA Tel Aviv-Yafo follows her research into the role of folktales in creating memories and identity – especially for refugees and immigrants – within the context of Israeli society. Presented in this exhibition is a selection of drawings and a new video related to a group of folktales regaled to the artist by Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers who live in Israel. These stories have a double presence: On one hand, they are manifestations of cultural expansion within Israeli society and therefore have been registered by Rokni to be part of the Israel Folktale Archives (IFA) at the University of Haifa.
On the other hand, the stories have become the main component of Rokni’s artistic research, manifested in a book, titled The Iblis, the Girl, the Sultan and the Lion’s Tail – which includes the stories in Hebrew, English, Arabic (the official language of Sudan), and Tigrinya (the official language of Eritrea) – as well as in the aforementioned drawings, presented as illustrations to the tales. Through this complex series of actions, the artist has created a book that simultaneously functions as educational and political tool, but also as an artist book and the accompanying publication of her solo exhibition at CCA Tel Aviv-Yafo.
“Elham Rokni: The Seven Abdulkarims” is curated by Sergio Edelsztein.
Elham Rokni: The Seven Abdulkarims” and The Iblis, the Girl, the Sultan and the Lion’s Tail are supported by Mifal HaPais Council for the Culture and Arts, Artis, the Ostrovsky Family Fund (OFF), the Robert Weil Family Foundation, and the Yehoshua Rabinovich Tel Aviv Foundation for the Arts.
“Elham Rokni: The Seven Abdulkarims,” 2018
View of the exhibition at CCA Tel Aviv-Yafo
Photo: Elad Sarig
The Seven Abdulkarims, 2018
Courtesy of the artist
Elham Rokni: The Seven Abdulkarims
March 16, 2018
January 17, 2018