Aya Haidar, ‘The Space Between III’, 2016, ATHR


Amidst the ruin of my abandoned family home in Doha, a Beirut suburb, due to the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990), I have salvaged six National Geographic copies from my grandfather’s collection, bookending the start and end of the conflict, onto which I have created commentary and intervention by embroidering their covers.
The National Geographics are coupled, based on their month of publication with one in 1975 and the other in 1990.

National Geographic, at the time, presented a worldly and wider social, political and environmental outlook. It offered information on behavior and trends across borders that otherwise wouldn't have been available and so formed a real channel of wider understanding. Through my embroidered interventions, I serve to localize ever widening trends in forced migration and overlay them right back onto the front page where I think their discourse should be.
The space between 1975 to 1990 created a shift in the region, certainly to my family. The civil conflict that Lebanon underwent created a rift in people's lives and a separation between home and homeland. What made front cover news on these National Geographic publications is widely disparate to what people felt was front cover news in their lives across the region. This selective and silenced reporting is a trend not too dissimilar across the region in present day reality and serves to echo such cycles. By placing both issues of National Geographics side by side, 1975 and 1990 respectively, highlighting the space, arguably the void that had been created, between.

Image rights: Courtesy of the artist and ATHR

About Aya Haidar