BEING THE OTHER

Art Exhibition by Fabienne Francotte

To look at the cause of war, we would have to go back in time and understand social and political norms, their perspective and their reasons. But to overcome the consequences, we could turn to forms of expression. In art, we lay out pain and suffering, anger and understanding. Through art we express and recognize not only ourselves but also ‘the other’. It is said that we should ‘make art, not war’ and we are reminded of it as we look through Fabienne Francotte’s collection ‘Being the Other’ held at Saskia Fernando Gallery from 20 th of June to 11 th of July, 2019.

Fabienne’s works of art are depictions of the harrowing experiences and inordinate trauma received by the individuals of Rohingya community in Bangladesh. Titled Being the Other (2019),this collection by Fabienne along with Rohingya children reveals moments of shared trauma and plight communicated through wordless intimacies that the artist experienced during her work with the Rohingya community of refugees in Bangladesh. The year 2018 was a dire and emotionally challenging year for the Rohingya minority from western Myanmar. Two-thirds of the population that had been living in western Rakhine State before the end of 2017 remains displaced in crowded camps in Bangladesh. To read more about her venture in Rohingya, click here.

We visited Saskia Fernando Gallery on the opening night of ‘Being the Other’ to a crowd of art enthusiasts and artists, including artist and curator, Menika van der Poorten, artists Firi Rahman, Vicky Shahjahan, and art critic Sandev Handy. The Ambassador of France for Sri Lanka and Maldives, Eric Lavertu also graced the occasion.

An introduction to this exhibition, as Sandev Handy aptly describes, “Fabienne Francotte inquires about what responsibility we have toward the visible or even the partially visible. The empty backgrounds holding these isolated figures implicate the viewer in a kind of involvement. They ask us to consider how we manoeuvre questions of responsibility when we are confronted with the experiences of others…”.

“I really like Fabienne’s work and I think there’s something very spare and minimalist. Her limited use of colour has more impact, it’s full of emotion and feeling. There’s a kind of subtlety to it that I really like. The intent is not to shock, it’s to reach out and you get what she’s feeling – it’s very honest.” – Menika van der Poorten, artist and curator.

“I really like Fabienne’s work and I think there’s something very spare and minimalist. Her limited use of colour has more impact, it’s full of emotion and feeling. There’s a kind of subtlety to it that I really like. The intent is not to shock, it’s to reach out and you get what she’s feeling – it’s very honest.” – Menika van der Poorten, artist and curator.

"Fabienne’s work is very familiar to me because she has worked in my neighbourhood, Slave Island. She’d done a portrait of me too, and I’ve seen her work with the people and their stories which is also what I do and I’m really interested in what she does.” – Firi Rahaman 

Fabienne Francotte’s works of art touched each soul, understood pain and grieved along with the victims. The audience felt they could relate and most of all, they understood what it was to ‘be the other’, “I think I gave a voice to people who will never share, not only the drama, but the trauma they’ve gone through and also, the most important thing is that I grabbed the attention of those to ‘be the other’. I think we are living in a world that is so complicated and everybody’s angry about everybody but at the end of the day, we’re just human beings. If we can stop for a second and look at each other, it will be much easier. I think people got the message.” Fabienne navigates ethical and social issues while instilling in the viewer a fresh perspective of unity and hope to heal, transform, and enhance lives.  Her exhibition ‘Being the Other’ reflects the powerful expression of the artist where she is constantly inspired by her personal journey. Visit Saskia Fernando Gallery before the 11th of July to experience these paintings that are a fresh outlook on the society and the plight of human beings

Image courtesy: Saskia Fernando Gallery

ARTRA is Sri Lanka’s Art Magazine exploring curated content on Sri Lanka’s visual art, performance art, applied art and written art. Launched in 2012, ARTRA Magazine is a compact monthly art read providing a comprehensive understanding on Sri Lankan artists, art events, monthly art calendars and the Sri Lankan design landscape. In sum, all you need to know about art in Sri Lanka.

26th June, 2019 Visual Art | Paintings

GET YOUR LATEST COPY OF ARTRA MAGAZINE