Mum, Am I a Barbarian?

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Mum, Am I a Barbarian? (2014) Photograph, Colour, 140 cm x 100 cm

Named after the 13th Turkish Biennale Mom am I barbarian?, this work aims to question the established concepts of ‘barbarity’, investigating what it would mean to be a ‘βάρβαρη’(female barbarian) today.

Xhafa-Mripa projects herself as a woman at the centre of a traditionally male space, where a range of possible ‘standardised’ yet ambiguous roles coexist (the mother; the female ideal; the Holy Virgin; the foreigner; the housewife), together with her daughter, who could in turn ‘become’ a βάρβαρη or a messiah, depending on society’s interpretations of such con- cepts.

This visual challenge is posited in the face of the hitherto historical framing of the concept of barbarity, hinting towards what such an image and its connotations could reveal if placed in today’s spatio-economic context. Problematising the common understanding of the cat- egory of the ‘barbarian’, which is often dialectically necessary for the subject who posits it, and hoping, by extension, that this simple and direct image can reveal many of the contra- dictions inherent to the language of our current socio-economic system.