Bokja at the Institut du monde arab

October 11, 2012 – January 13, 2013

In the heart of the Institut du monde arabe’s permanent collection, Bokja will present a series of unique and engaging works, inspired by the sociopolitical changes ignited by the Arab Spring.

In the Sufi poem by Farid Ud-Din Attar, The Conference of the Birds, hundreds of birds embark on a perilous journey across seven treacherous valleys in search of a king who can right the wrongs of their world.

The troubles that inspired their flight — ” Discontent – poverty – desperate fights over territory – water – food – poisoned air – unhappiness” — are all too familiar in our world. Several nations in the Arab region have taken flight, while others remain under barbed wire. Throughout the region’s upheavals, a central cry rings out:  “ The people want the downfall of the regime.” Out with the old… but in with what?

Bokja captures the essence of this question in this exhibition. From the whimsical to the political, the intimate studies delineate the designers’ own flight through the Arab seasons and explore dimensions of an Arab identity.


An image taken from the opening reception of visitors mingling in fron of the artwork. To the right hangs the map of The Arab Spring, depicting the awakening of the Arab world. The background is an old valuable carpet representing our core values that should be the basis of any new start. The mood of the symbols used in the map are optimistic, in hopes of rejuvenation and resurrection.


Visitors reading tweets engraved on leaves. The leaves are scattered about, representing the voices of the revolutionaries, read on the internet around the world. “Solidarity with all Egyptians rising up against Mubarak!” “No one stained my honor.” @samiraibrahim  “Remember These Days Very Well” #Jan14 #Feb11 #Aug22 #Tunisia #Egypt #Libya


The Bokjadized Armchair and Television set represent the people around the world, as they sat in their homes watching the events of the revolution unfold on TV. The Protestors, situated behind, each with their own name and cause, are displayed on the globe.


Also displayed were portraits of the Bokja Team. Each person brought with them a different reaction and perspective to the events that were unfolding. Their words were captured and able to be heard in three different languages. Even if you could not understand their words, you could feel their emotion.


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