Two Diaries, an artist’s book, is the culmination of a two-year project between Gluklya, an artist of Russian origin, and Murad Zorava, a Kurdish activist and poet.
In 2017-18, Gluklya was renting a studio in one of the towers of Bijlmerbajes, a former prison in Amsterdam. After a year of workshops, meetings, and conversations with refugees, local artists, activists, and academics resulted in The Carnival of Oppressed Feelings, a whole-day performance on Amsterdam’s streets, and in the exhibition halls of the Van Abbemuseum during the Positions-4, 2018-19, curated by Charles Esche. During that year, Gluklya searched for ways to communicate with many of the refugees through a diary collaboration. Murad Zorava responded to her invitation and wrote a diary which became the true result of the project.
Two Diaries, a document of our time, illustrates through the lens of the position of refugees in Europe, critical issues of today’s society. The book unfolds several layers of the meaning of “prison” – the prison of language, the prison of artistic labels, the prison of social status, time, architecture and authority. Gluklya’s diary speaks to the artist’s struggle with the de-humanized system, while Murad Zorava’s diary focuses on his process of seeking asylum in the Netherlands. The book raises several questions; What does equality mean? When it is equality between a refugee and an artist, between, so to speak, educated artists and the person who did not study art at all? Can we imagine rethinking and abandoning ideas of the Enlightenment? How do diversity and inclusivity fit into this narrative? How to deal with the notion of care without falling into sentimental care, into patronizing, but soberly staying within the frame of radical care?
Two Diaries focuses on the notion that refugees need something more profound than “things” for survival if they are to be seen as equal and full-right members of society. The idea is to rethink social change using art as a tool.
The book will be designed by Bardhi Haliti, in-kind support by Framer Framed in Amsterdam, and Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The proposed publisher is Walter Koenig.