Customs Made: Quotidian Practices and Everyday Rituals

Devotional, personal, prescribed, subversive or self-invented, our everyday rituals breathe identity, belonging, community, and a sense of order into our daily lives. We practice them in public open areas, as well as in private intimate spaces behind closed doors. Artistic engagement with everyday rituals provides a fascinating looking glass onto contemporary society’s changing landscape, conferring a wealth of stories, bestowing individuals with the power to carve out not only autonomous spaces of agency and self expression, but also to forge new communities of belonging in a rapidly changing urban and globalized environment.

The MENASA region in particular has undergone major transformations in the past decades, witnessing rapid urbanization, changing economies and new political alliances. The artists in Customs Made incorporate quotidian practices and everyday rituals in their work and blur the boundaries between art and life, between the prescribed and the personal. If rituals offer order and sequence, then what happens when artists re-shuffle and disrupt this? Ritual opens a space for them to explore how to weave their individuality, beliefs and practices into the fabric of the societies they inhabit. In many of the works in this exhibition, ritual is intertwined with a broad spectrum of everyday practices, reinforcing the comfort of the familiar, from spiritual meditative routines, daily physical activities, superstitious repetitions, to mundane but necessary household chores.

Customs Made seeks to explore the interstitial spaces where past meets present, where the contemporary experience in its ever-expanding human mosaic finds its muse and inspiration, and oscillates between the repetitive structures of ritual and that of self-expression.

Curators: Livia Alexander, Nat Muller

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