As a Canadian artist of Armenian, Egyptian, and Lebanese descent, my paintings focus on genealogy, intergenerational trauma and historical violence. Can painting have the ability to enable a secondary witnessing, an empathic experience of muted trauma? In my work, I create a narrative based on the history of my family; one of diaspora, immigration, and genocide. My research is based on oral histories, photographic archives and objects bequeathed to me. I become a receptacle. I transform this knowledge and create narratives using memory and imagination. When stories and memories are subjected to time, the narratives become blurred, on the borderline between reality and fiction. My images serve as metaphors for the impact of intergenerational trauma. Color and composition mimic the spontaneous way in which oral histories are recounted. Figures, shapes and forms reflect violence, creation and destruction - a complex and gut-level vision of power imbalances. The work speaks of ancestral grief. Such grief work invites an ongoing practice of deepening, caring, and listening. Dealing with undigested anguish of our ancestors frees us to live our present lives. In turn, it can also relieve ancestral suffering in the other world.
Muriel Ahmarani Jaouich is currently living on the unceded indigenous lands of Tiohtià:ke / Montreal, QC, Canada, of the Kanien'kehà:ka Peoples. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts, with honors, from Concordia University and is presently pursuing her Masters in Fine Arts at Concordia University. She is the recipient of the Lilian Vineberg scholarship and the Tom Hopkins Memorial award. In recent years, her work has been presented in exhibitions, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, Centre Clark, Articule, Printemps du Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, Rad Hourani Gallery, McBride Contemporain Gallery, Montreal Arts Interculturels (MAI) as well as AucArt in the UK. Her work has been published in the feminist journal Yiara as well as the Documenta Journal in New York. Her works are present in private collections in Montreal, New York, Los Angeles, Prague, Barcelona and Milan. She is part of the BIPOC Fabulous Committee at Articule artist-run center in Montreal, Quebec.