Khaled Barakeh

Khaled Barakeh. No Man's Land. Detail. Courtesy: the artist

No Man’s Land presents us with a world map upon which threads of gold are sewn demarcating areas of ongoing violent conflict. Barakeh’s work touches on the Japanese technique of Kintsugi, in which broken ceramic objects are mended with golden lacquer. This creates a new life for the object, more perfect for its flaws and more precious for its history. The process celebrates breakage and repair as an integral part of an object’s history, not something to be hidden away. In No Man’s Land, Barakeh has applied this craft philosophy to man-made political divisions around the globe. Using the traditionally feminine labor of needlework, Barakeh sutured the geographic lacerations with golden thread. No Man’s Land is a reimagining of the practice of cartography as one of healing; a new form which counters its historical association with conquest and demarcation.

2014 – hand embroidered silk, steel, 140x210 cm
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.