Tania Khoury's interactive performance pieces--Gardens Speak and As Far As My Fingertips Take Me were traumatizing and moving during Miami Art Week 2017.
Describing these does not do them justice.
Gardens Speak, in particular, is far more than the sum of its parts. Participants are given a card, with a name in Arabic and then brought into a room with gravestones in dirt. You then climb into the dirt and have to dig down until you can hear talking. The voice, the name on the card and on the grave marker, is an actual person killed in Syria at various points in the nation's recent history. They tell you their story.
The piece is much more than the description above. It was a profound experience of the sort you rarely get from any art of any sort. It brings you, as much as is possible, into the life and death of a real human being. You walk away feeling for them.
As Far As My Fingertips Take Me brings you the experience of a recent Syrian refugee. You listen while a tattoo artist draws the story on your arm. Less disturbing and not traumatizing though this is , the tactile part of it is moving. Your arm is placed through a hole in a wall. While you can feel, you cannot see. This mirrors how we empathize with refugees; we can see what they go through, we can empathize but we really cannot experience their lives in a meaningful way.
Find out more about the artist at taniaelkhoury.com.
I asked Khoury one question--what does she want US to take away from her pieces. It is a nuanced response. She doesn't feel she important in her work, ergo she did not want the video to be of her.