Aziz Hazara Bow Echo

May 6–Jul 22
Mercer Union ⁠ accessible_forward
    Aziz Hazara, Bow Echo in the making, (production still), 2019. Courtesy the artist.

Berlin-based artist Aziz Hazara’s practice is deeply engaged with the geopolitics and enduring destabilization of Afghanistan. In the artist’s film-installation Bow Echo (2019), five boys are seen braving harsh winds to climb atop a large rock from which they ceremonially sound a kazoo—a small gesture that hopes to carry an urgent message in their community’s plight against repression and violence.

Situated on the high hills of Kabul Province, in a landscape that bears the marks and mirrors the trauma of its people, the echoing sound of the kazoo becomes both an eerie overlay and a resounding pronouncement of life. Hazara’s work has long interrogated the mechanics of internal borders and territories that are negotiated under military occupation. Against these unlivable conditions of colonial violence, the artist’s work offers a close study of collective and intimate expression. His practice opens broader conversations around grief, documentation, and memorialization as elements that bind a collective experience, stretched out across landscapes. 

For Hazara, the life of an individual or a community cannot be justly treated by common methods of representation. His practice has looked at the technologies of power that form through surveillance, and those that become manifest in the weaponization of representation. This is a central point of interest in curator Nasrin Himada’s framing of the exhibition, which speaks to the tensions between the forms of artistic interrogation and representational convention. Bow Echo takes up the difficult task of assembling expressions of mourning and empathy, of survival and steadfastness, to draw parallels between a collective life force, and the collective love expressed for home, land, and the people.

Curated by Nasrin Himada.
Himada is a Palestinian writer and curator who currently holds the position of Associate Curator at Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston (ON).

Presented by Mercer Union in partnership with CONTACT

Aziz Hazara (b. 1992, Wardak) lives and works in Kabul and Berlin. He works across different mediums, including video, installation, photography, sound, and sculpture, addressing dichotomies such as proximity and distance, migration and memory, life and death, reality and fiction, war and peace. His works have been exhibited nationally and internationally in venues including Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2022); Netwerk Aalst (2021); Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, New York (2020); 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020); Museum of Contemporary Art, Eupen (2020); Kunsthal Aarhus (2020); the Busan Biennale (2020); the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (MuCEM), Marseille (2019); and Asia Culture Center, Kwangju (2017). He is currently an artist in residence at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, and a grantee of KfW Stiftung. He is the winner of the 6th edition of the Future Generation Art Prize 2021.