On Thursday evening we had the privilege of welcoming Helene Kazan. Helene described her journey from an installation and sculpture based artist towards a more research oriented form of art. As an English-Lebanese woman she was raised in the tumultuous streets of Lebanon during the civil war in 1989. Her family was forced to flee and this personal interest in how humans react to violence influences most of her work. Her art attempts to bring about change in understanding about these matters: for example, her installation Window no.17 actively spoke out against the space she was exhibiting in (the owners of which made their money through arms-dealing). She believes these are incredibly important conversations to be having now especially with the Witney Museum making some of its money from selling tear-gas used on Mexicans at the border. She also made the point that violence can be something called “slow violence” which are these justifiably legal, unnoticed forms of harm that people suffer from daily and that are not spoken about. It was an incredibly thought-provoking talk with insight into defining art, inequality, and the effects of violence on communities.
Lorenzo Harvey Allchurch