Homesick (2014) is a two-channel video where Sarkissian is shown destroying an architectural replica of the apartment building in Damascus where his parents continue to live. When the Syrian war erupted in 2011, Sarkissian’s parents, like many of their generation, refused to leave their adopted home of Damascus. Sarkissian himself was raised in this building and lived there until 2008 when he left Syria for Europe. It is a site of belonging—a container where he has preserved his memories and a place for his family’s collective identity.
Sarkissian proposes a narrative that, considering the current situation in his home country, could very well occur at any time. Homesick raises the question of what would be the consequences of this story should they become a reality? Is it possible to fast-forward—accept the impending loss of conflict and begin the effort to rebuild a history that has collapsed? Through this performance Sarkissian takes an inevitable destiny into his own hands. It is a performance to regain control over an impossible situation—tearing apart an imminent and overwhelming existence.
Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence is organised by Bonniers Konsthall, Sharjah Art Foundation, and Bonnefanten.
Curated by Dr Theodor Ringborg, Artistic Director, Bonniers Konsthall; Dr Omar Kholeif, Director of Collections and Senior Curator, Sharjah Art Foundation; and Stijn Huijts, Artistic Director, Bonnefanten.