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There in Green California / هناك في كاليفورنيا الخضراء

March 29 April 19

Opening reception: Saturday, March 30, 6 – 10pm

Ali Eyal, Andre Keichian, Ignacio Perez Meruane, Izdihar Afyouni, Golrokh Nafisi, Hande Sever, Susu Attar

Gallery hours: Wednesday through Sunday, by appointment. Contact [email protected] to make a reservation.

Izdihar Ayouni, 2024 (detail), oil on canvas, 2024

It is difficult, even righteously offensive, to make art in the face of so much destruction and death which need little interpretation. The work of art (making), exhibition (making) and writing are never separate from their makers. And what of our “marginalized” identities if we can’t transform our lived experiences into ways of seeing and being in the world? Like grains of sand melted into a solid and fragile piece of glass, the alchemy allows for light to be filtered through so we can be guided by it. It is through this lens that we can see life and write about living in a carceral world invested in our slow and sudden death.

The artists in this exhibition address cycles of violence and loss. From the most abstract to the figurative, the material or psychological, they provide embodied perspectives across experiments with material and form. A violent memory of disappearance, dispossession and displacement etched onto a surface, rebuilt through layers of paint; An image that self-effaces as soon as it emerges. What is the role of memory in the age of total destruction?

There in Green California brings together works by artists who have been making work with the bombs already dropping; already on the run from the kidnappers and their haunting memories; already violated and already under siege; generations displaced and memories already relived through so many stories there is no separating them from fiction. And there is no dreaming without the nightmares. 

The artists remind us of how the perceived peacefulness of our homes here is not in contrast to, but at the price of war at home over there. Here in our (not for much longer) green California, at the rate with which weapons are being made, we have been living in war for as far back as we can remember. Here in green California it is our struggles against indigenous dispossession and land theft, and our fights against the police and military industrial complex that connect us to the homes we have been uprooted from. 

As I write this text the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza is continuing in the hands of the necrophiliac Israeli government and with the direct support of the so-called United States and its allies. Here in the West where rhetoric is constantly utilized to distract us from the material reality of genocide and ethnic cleansing, I am more wary of the art jargon. Moving away from rhetoric, it is the material that confronts me: the layers of paint on canvas forming the guts of an animal; the paper rolling down onto the floor to keep the image of a body afloat; the pristine yet dismembered body parts replicated from the monument of a colonizer; the black and white gradients of mundane photographs as testaments to systemic removal; wet clay that fire has fixed into the shape of bullets preserved from memory; lines that connect one arm to another extended across separate sheets of paper; and glass that, by letting light through, makes but the process of seeing visible.

There in Green California borrows its title from Ghassan Kanafani’s 1956 Letter from Gaza. In the fictional letter, Palestinian author and novelist addresses his comrade, Mustafa: 

I won’t follow you to “the land where there is greenery, water and lovely faces” as you wrote. No, I’ll stay here, and I won’t ever leave. The choice to leave, the choice to stay or live one’s life as defined by crossing a border and living on both its sides, is not a question of privilege. Exile comes in its different shades and colors. 

–Gelare Khoshgozaran

Human Resources Los Angeles commits to the Palestinian international call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). The commitment to the Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel is twofold. It is a refusal to participate in the normalization of occupation and apartheid by Israel and a commitment to instead bring awareness to the material realities of these structures in Palestine. We stand with our colleagues who have already joined this movement, and who are putting their name on solidarity statements. We urge all arts organizations, writers, cultural workers, and artists to take action now. This boycott is a principled refusal to participate in artwashing. Learn more: https://bdsmovement.net/pacbi.

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