Bringing together the stories of travellers from a far off land the “Mappa Mundi” is not a map based upon observation but upon legend and memory. Kurdish Syrian artists Rania and Nairouz have spent time with fellow artist Sarah Nicholson telling her the stories of their country both prior to the current conflict as well as stories of the abuses that the Kurdish people have suffered there.
Together the three artists have created an interwoven artwork that incorporates Sarah’s naïve-art- informed drawings, Rania’s paintings of her memories of famous and important architectural sites and Nairouz’s coutured Warrior Women to suggest a narrative of joy, inspiration, memory and loss but always with hope. It shows the different aspects of Syria that make it feel like home to its people even in exile. It shows details of the country that are important to its people but that might not be well known beyond its borders.
The work exists on a large and impractical scale: on rolls of tracing paper assembled to 2.5 m x 2.5m. The transparency of the material causes us to reflect upon the fragile nature of place and memory; how conflict can render all that we find precious (or even just take for granted) in jeopardy.
Viewers are invited to interact with the map by taking a square of tracing paper that is attached to the map and writing their own thoughts on the two articles from the Declaration of Human rights that has inspired this project:
#1 We are all born free and equal
# 14 We all have the right to seek a safe place to live
Are we not all engaged in a “Journey to Freedom”?