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Throughout history, for many cultures migration has been an essential fact of life. The reasons people choose to migrate are varied and complex. War reporting tends to focus on the devastation of landscapes and casualties of battle, it’s harder to visualize stories of resulting psychological effects on those who escape conflict and devastation. In response to these pressing global issues and the devastating effects they leave in their wake on vast populations and cultures, East Wing presents, If I Leave, Where Will I Go”, a group exhibition of photography and video installation featuring the work of, Leila Alaoui, Tanya Habjouqa, and Omar Imam, three award-winning artists who employ a humanistic approach to reflect on preservation amidst conflict. 

If I Leave, Where Will I Go”, is dedicated to our colleague and friendFrench Moroccan artist, Leila Alaoui, who was tragically killed while on assignment for Amnesty International in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on January 2016. East Wing presents her video installation, Crossings”, one chapter of her life’s work, telling the story of migration, reflecting on experiences of sub-Saharan migrants who embark on the perilous journey to reach the elusive shores of Europe. 

Tanya Hajouqa presents, Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots’ a popular proverb in the Levant, which means, “Tomorrow never comes,” or “In your dreams.” For Syrian refugees in Jordan, the burdens of violence are present in their scant belongings, heavy mementos reminding them of those they lost in the war. 

Omar Imam’s Live Love Refugee” explores the mental state of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, specifically investigating how relationships and dreams are affected by conflict and displacement. Working with his subjects in a theatrical manner, each acts out their personal stories of pain and desire in a surreal re-telling of the experiences they encountered while crossing multiple borders to escape their war torn country.