My Light Is Your Light
“When people are forced to leave their cities, they do not only leave their homes, belongings, schools, favorite toys and friends and neighbors behind, they actually leave their skin and organs and memories. They transform into outlines of a radiating light. They walk, whispering one thing: my light is your light…”
Alaa Minawi’s light-installation my light is your light… premiered at the third edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival in late 2014. The installation is a tribute to the Syrian refugees who are going through extremely painful humanitarian conditions. It is also a tribute to every refugee in general who transforms into a radiating outline of a human once he/she is forced out from home, for his/her story craves to shine on throughout the world.
This idea has been presented in the form of a light installation with six human-scale statues created in outlines from custom-made neon lights. The six figures represent a family made of a father, a mother, a grandfather, an aunt and two children. A family that has been walking for years, and it seems as though the youngest of all has found something interesting. It is an installation that reflects both harshness and aspects of hope. These six figures will find themselves crossing paths with passers-by in Istanbul from November 13 to 29, 2015.
Alaa Minawi resides in Lebanon; a country that has vast borders with Syria, where he works as lighting designer and writer. Alaa has been working as a freelance interpreter with Syrian, Iraqi and Sudanese refugees. He has interpreted for more than 1000 families, and has during this process noticed that refugees, who are almost always susceptible to their reality, can easily be ‘detected’. They have an aura; some kind of glow that radiates from within them. Alaa began to construct his installation around the concept of refugees embodying outlines of a fragile light.
Every refugee comes with an extraordinary story to tell, and one that almost seeps out of their bodies… They are eager to try and tell the world what has occurred, and what is occurring. Alaa Minawi is himself a Palestinian refugee, his father was a refugee, and so was his grandfather.
alaa minawi (1982) is a Palestinian-Lebanese visual artist currently living and working in Beirut, Lebanon as a lighting designer and writer. With a BA in Communication arts from the Lebanese American University, Alaa has since 2006 worked in film, photography and theatre both in the Arab world and the USA with more than 300 different projects. Alaa first started experimenting with light sources in 2010 and has since developed a number of different collaborations in the field of lighting-design with many established artists such as Robert Wilson, Jawad Al Assadi, Andrey Barteniv, Tania Saleh, Lina Abyad and many others. Alaa has also recently been working on his own artistic creations, in 2011 he started a sound and light experiment that lead to [piano in my pillow], a collaboration with improvisation pianist, Vladimir kurumilian and in 2013, his light installation ‘beyond myself…’ was successfully premiered during the Amsterdam Light Festival, where he returns this year with a second light-installation entitled ‘my light is your light’.