Former Contract Instructor with the History Department, Egemen Ozbek, has just, along with Vanessa Agnew and Annette An-Jen Liu, curated a new exhibit entitled “Right to Arrive” at the PROMPT Gallery at the Austratian National University in Canberra.
About the Exhibit:Topographies of genocide, flight, and hospitality—then and now
One hundred years ago, Syria was a destination for Armenians driven out of Ottoman Turkey, where as many as a million and a half people died. Those who survived the genocide headed for Aleppo and places further east, where they sought sanctuary. Today, there is a mass movement of people in the reverse direction, as refugees flee conflict and repression in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The movement of refugees across this broad topography—from the Middle East to Western Europe—reminds us of the historically-unstable identities of hosts and strangers, persecutors and persecuted.
The exhibition draws on Kant’s ideas about the rights of strangers in order to explore the promise of arrival and the implications of refusing refuge. It juxtaposes Armin T. Wegner’s historical photographs, which document the flight and genocide of Ottoman Armenians, with Vanessa Agnew’s installations, which meditate on refugeehood today.