“I exist (in some way)” is a visual art production/exhibition of LAAF and the bluecoat Liverpool (GB) and Moussem (BE) in partnership with Look 13, Liverpool’s international photography festival.

This group exhibitions features the work of photographers who explore, frame or reveal constructions of personal and collective identity in the contemporary Arab world. Six artists will be selected from following list: Mounira Al Sohl (Beirut/The Netherlands), Boushra Almutawakel (Yemen), George Awde (USA), Hicham Benohoud (Morocco/France), Laura Boushnak (Palestinian, Kuwaiti-born), Hichem Driss (Tunisia/Paris), Hala Elkoussy (Egypt), Laura El-Tantawy (Egypt/UK), Lamya Gargash (Dubai, UAE), Tanya Habjouqa (Jordan/US/UK), Nathalie Kardjiane (Syria), Larissa Sansour (Palestinian, London-based), Issa Touma (Syria).

Responding to the question “Who do you think you are?” - - the theme of Look 13, Liverpool’s international photography festival - - this exhibition presents a platform for subjective reflection. The works included explore the process of self-determination through physical, physiological and sociological means:

When looking in the mirror what does the reflection of my body say about me? What is the biology of representation? What do I really look like?
How and why do we determine identity through history and memory? How is autobiography constructed? Who do I believe I am?
How do the roles of gender, myth or tradition affect identity of self? What do my relationships say about me?  How do gestures through dress, behavior or social media define me? 

The title of the exhibition is inspired by the words of Syrian photographer Issa Touma. When asked recently if he described his work as political, he replied “Everything in the Middle East can be political if you have censorship. They do not like the freedom I have, but they also do not have much choice. I exist in some way. They cannot cancel me, so they need to accept me.” (2012)
Touma’s insistence on being is infused with ambiguity and uncertainty. It is a beguiling position that invites careful consideration of the corporeal and the conceptual. If we believe identity is not fixed in time and place, then what “ways” of being are possible?

Curator: Sara-Jayne Parsons
Artists: 6 photographers (tbc)
Production: Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival in cooperation with Moussem and the Bluecoat in partnership with Look 13, Liverpool’s international photography festival.

The first exhibition will take place in Liverpool from  the 18th of May till the 14th  of July 2013 in the Bluecoat, Liverpool (GB)
additional European venues/dates, tbc