Art that Addresses Islamophobia in America and Europe
June 22, 2017
From 3:AM Magazine: "Georgia Lale is a visual and performance artist based in New York City. She was born in Greece and graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Athens. In 2016, she completed her MFA program at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She is the recipient of several awards and fellowships of excellence. She is coming from a refugee background. Her work explores the limits of the human body—questioning modern society’s responses to global humanitarian and economic issues. She has been widely shown in Europe and the U.S.A. Georgia developed a performance art project entitled #OrangeVest that seeks to confront the refugee crisis in Europe. These public space interventions were performed at different sites in New York and other U.S.A. cities, and most recently in Brussels, where a group of refugee artists was involved in the project. This work was also presented in the Greek Pavillion at 15th Venice Architecture Biennale...
3:AM: What are you working on currently?
GL: I’m working on a public performance series that is called 'Emergence' that intends to address uprising xenophobia and islamophobia in the U.S.A and in Europe. As part of the piece, I am walking in public spaces, wearing a hijab made out of an emergency heat blanket. The emergency heat blanket is made out of a metallic, golden material and it has been provided as first-aid to rescued refugees that have crossed the Mediterranean Sea. The emergency heat blanket has the ability to raise the body temperature up to 90%. Wearing the hijab, I posed in front of the Statue of Liberty and the Hephaestus’ Temple in Athens that used to be a refugee camp in 1922 housing refugees that came to Greece after a conflict between Greece and Turkey.
I have been living between two cities, Athens and New York City. These are my homes and I am very proud of what my cities are standing up for. New York City is standing up as the American symbol of welcoming the needy, the immigrant, as well as the refugee. New York City is constantly fighting for human rights, for gender equality, for freedom of speech, and free college education. In parallel Athens, the Greek city that founded democracy, philosophy, arts and sciences was the center of the ancient western world. Those two are my cities. Two cities that combine the new and the old. Two cities that have a very long history of migration. Two cities that became the center of the world because of their cosmopolitan character and the constant cultural exchange that made them globally unique. Through this work, I try to speak up against xenophobic and islamophobic voices and incidents that unfortunately are becoming more and more pervasive..." (For the full story and more photos, click here)