Three children sit on plastic chairs in a courtyard. Dappled sunlight filters through the leaves, casting shadows on the ground. We see a photograph of a photograph, the flash of the camera reflected on the surface of the image. Artist Joud Toamah, born in Syria in 1992 and based in Belgium, unravels the meaning of images thread by thread. She is interested in the relationship between photography and memory; in how a family photograph can evoke certain emotions and take you back to a specific place and time.
For Toamah, that place is her hometown of Deir Ezzor and her grandparents’ house. The installation A sense of what I remember is a symbolic translation of a family snapshot. The copper plates are a nod to the Syrian ritual of cleansing oneself of fear, illness and sadness by drinking water from an engraved copper bowl. Toamah wants to infuse the spatial experience of this room with that same tranquillity
She uses various mediums to translate the images in her mind. Her approach is less nostalgic and more a way to reconcile the past with the present; an attempt to heal through photography.
This exhibition is the result of an art commission as part of the COVID-19 grant provided by FOMU in spring 2020 in response to the coronavirus measures, which hit many photographers and artists hard. For the selection, FOMU collaborated with art and photography experts. Joud Toamah was nominated by Caroline Dumalin.
Five other artists also received a FOMU grant within this framework, including Mous Lamrabat, Aurélie Geurts, Hélène Amouzou and Alexey Shlyk & artist duo Ben Van den Berghe (spring 2022).
Artists: Joud Toamah