Behjat Omer Abdulla

What would it mean to experience our own privileged lives as inextricably tied up with the exposed lives of less fortunate others elsewhere in the world? Under the fear of war, as thousands of families fled their homelands, a mother of twin infants started her journey to seek a safer place.  During the journey, a tragedy occurred. Behjat explores these events through a series of drawings in order to reflect on their meaning and make connections to a wider audience.

From a Distance engages with the complex horizon of human understanding,  exploring through the medium of drawing different ways of coping with the brutality of exposure.  Transmitting the complexity of migration stories to further audiences, Behjat’s graphite drawings evoke subtle –  almost invisible –  hints of violence.  Behjat developed ‘From a Distance’ after spending time listening and engaging with the residents of the Restad Gard Refugee Camp in Sweden in 2016.

From a Distance was on display for the week of the programme and Behjat will be running workshops on Thursday 16, Friday 17 and Saturday 18 March.

Behjat Omer Abdulla’s ‘Who Are We?’ Tate Exchange residency was kindly supported by the Swedish Embassy London.

  • From a Distance, Tate Exchange, London, United Kingdom. Photograph: Marcia Chandra

About the artist

Bahjat is a Kurdish visual artist who works with mixed media, mainly drawing, photography, and video installation, in order to listen to peoples’ stories and try to create a platform for debate around the issues raised. His work raises questions about identity and people’s position in the world.