Collection > LANA ČMAJČANIN
ONCE WE WERE BROTHERS

2020

Neon sign, 55 x 160 cm, neon light, dimmable neon sign transformer, print on textile

Inv. št.



The installation Once We Were Brothers starts from ideological phenomena shaped through the often-used metaphor of brotherhood and from visual pattern influenced by an emerging NAM modernity of the 1960s. Through time, those social, political, and cultural metaphors and patterns lost their ideological meanings of solidarity and freedom, becoming new neo-colonial signifiers of the Third World that today suffers wars, oppression, exploitation, migration, terror, crises and much more. Consisting of neon inscription written in Arabic calligraphy and a wallpaper whose design (patterns) draws on the design of the poster for the 6th International Exhibition of Graphic Arts, the installation shows the transformative potentials and failures of the time when co­lonial power was stopped, at least for a while. It also opens up a space for ideas of future shifts in art geographies inscribed by the politics of peace and solidarity. Blue neon light (Pantone Reflex Blue) symbolically uses the colour of anti-colonial struggle and peace, the colour through which NAM was mostly represented, and brings a new dimension into its today’s meaning of the EU and democracy, while Arabic calligraphy (Once We Were Brothers) faces today’s fear (Islamophobia/ xenophobia) of those who belonged to the NAM geography.

Text: Andreja Hribernik

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