Khaled Barakeh

Khaled Barakeh. Materialised Distance. Courtesy: the artist

“I thought to somehow move the two figures of Maurice
Harron’s 25 year old ‘Hands Across the Divide’ iconic sculpture,
that is centrally located on the bridge between Catholic and
Protestant areas, a few centimeters towards each other. (…)
my hope is that a new perspective on a persistent challenge
may emerge, and that the city may begin to cultivate their
space mutually, recognizing that the place of reconciliation is
all around them, just waiting to be grasped ..."
- Khaled Barakeh, 2013

Materialised Distance is a ceramic sculpture which bridges the distance between two hands that are centimeters away from touching. Barakeh’s work is drawn from Maurice Harron’s iconic public sculpture Hands Across the Divide, which symbolizes the division between Catholics and Protestants in the doubly named City of Derry~Londonderry in Northern Ireland. Barakeh’s work reflects on the hands of the monument’s two figures; frozen in an unfinished reconciliation, almost touching, but never truly joining. There exists between them an eternal gap. Materialized Distance creates a literal bridge between the two hands, two communities, histories and ideologies. What once was an unresolvable, negative space is transformed into a palpable mass, a handshake.

2013 - ceramic sculpture, 23x17x15cm
Courtesy of the artist

Khaled Barakeh
°1976, Syria

Khaled Barakeh is a Syrian conceptual artist and cultural activist. Driven by his observations of longstanding social injustice, Barakeh approaches creative practice as a tool for societal change; manipulating commonplace visual and cultural touchstones to expose and undermine stagnant power structures. In recent years, his projects have delved into the media’s portrayal of victims of conflict, once cohesive communities divided by political strife, and the dynamics of integration for refugees. Alongside Studio Khaled Barakeh, he also initiated coculture e.V in 2017 - a non-for-profit umbrella organisation with a suite of initiatives that leverage artistic thinking to directly address issues of contemporary mass migration, focussed on addressing the challenges faced by displaced cultural producers in the Middle East, Europe, and beyond. Khaled Barakeh’s work has been exhibited at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, The 11th Shanghai Biennale, Salt Istanbul, The Frankfurter Kunstverein, Artspace New Zealand, The Busan Biennale, The Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, and many other international venues and institutions. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus in 2005 and received his MFA from Funen Art Academy in Odense, Denmark, in 2010. In 2013, he completed a Meisterschuler study at the Städelschule Art Academy in Frankfurt a.M., Germany. He lives and works in Berlin.