We partnered with the Middle East Institute to present 'Gardens Speak', an interactive exhibit exploring the stories of Syrian activists by Tania El Khoury.
Across Syria, many gardens conceal the dead bodies of activists and protesters who adorned the streets during the early periods of the uprising. These domestic burials play out a continuing collaboration between the living and the dead. The dead protect the living by not exposing them to further danger at the hands of the regime. The living protect the dead by conserving their identities, telling their stories, and not allowing their deaths to become instruments to the regime.
Gardens Speak is an interactive sound installation containing the oral histories of ten ordinary people who were buried in Syrian gardens. Each narrative has been carefully constructed with the friends and family members of the deceased to retell their stories as they themselves may have recounted it. They are compiled with found audio that evidences their final moments.
Gardens Speak has been touring since 2014 to Melbourne, Birmingham, Bucharest, Munich, Lancaster, Edinburgh, UK, and London. It was selected for the Artraker Award on art and conflict.
Gardens Speak and the accompanying program of talks was organized by the Middle East Institute in collaboration with the National Building Museum, with a generous grant from the British Council.
The installation made its USA debut from April 7, 2016 through April 12, 2016 at the National Building Museum.