Themes of home, displacement, and identity became pertinent in my work since I could not physically travel back to Iraq and Syria, as these places have been impacted by wars and instability. As an artist working through digital media, the internet becomes a portal of transfer that enables images to become artifacts that I excavate, translate, reimagine narratives and reclaim history. I utilize the green screen, chroma key as a metaphor for a ‘magic carpet’ to encounter what has been lost and obliterated.
As my way of world building, as a magic carpet would, the green screen transports me to sites and circumvents all obstacles. It becomes a trope that enables my body to access impossible sites and artifacts that are otherwise geographically and temporally separated. Having left Baghdad just before the second US invasion and now living in a different country than my family, this absence became a quest for existential meaning, where I find myself creating a personal methodology and unearthing of my heritage.
Impossible Sites constructs a world from images of ancient Mesopotamian ruins. It explores the space between digital representation, personal memory, and revived artifacts that are no longer accessible, destroyed through war or removed from their original context. I use the internet as a site of excavation by taking 2D images of artifacts and relics and re-contextualize them into a multi-layered video collage. The narrative draws from lived experience of growing up in Iraq and having lived through war and migrating as an adolescent. My practice examines memories of collective history through a shared national identity, which is echoed throughout the vignettes of the video; I insert my body to revisit sites through digital reconstructions.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Ayam Yaldo is a Montréal/Tiohtiá:ke based artist and recent Master of Fine Arts graduate from Concordia University in the department of Intermedia. Working in a wide range of media including live performance, video, and installation, her works explore narratives that shift between the personal and the political, the past and present, reality and myth. Yaldo’s current research is concerned with the formation of identity and subjectivity, and how these take shape in relation to grand historical narratives, the European tradition of archaeology, artifacts, and her personal experience of war and displacement from the Middle East as a child.
Focusing on the body, identity, and image, Yaldo explores concepts of world building through reconstruction, transformation, and the ephemeral, in relation to forms of displacement. Yaldo was a recipient of the DémART award for culturally diverse artists in Montréal and presented a solo exhibition at Perte de Signal (2017). Recent exhibitions include Art POP (POP Montréal, 2021), Festival International de Musique Nouvelle en Franche Comté (Château de Fresne Saint Mamès, France, 2021), and Center for Contemporary Art (Glasgow, UK, 2021). Yaldo received an Honourable Mention for the Emerging Digital Artist Award (Toronto, 2021).
© Ayam Yaldo