“Orientalist, colonial, and patriarchal systems created a powerful Imaginarium, as we are calling it here, that ferociously generated and disseminated images on postcards of women from the so-called ‘East’, to the ‘West’. They leave a profound legacy in our present. We wanted to create a Counter-Imaginarium.”
The Postcard Women’s Imaginarium project group was created and set up by artist Salma Ahmad Caller in 2018, together with artist Afsoon, artist curator Esen Salma Kaya, poet Betül Dünder, translator Neil Patrick Doherty, and writer Stephanie Nic Cárthaigh. The project aims to reveal the problematic and misleading processes that created false ‘exotic’ and ‘ethnographic’ representations on postcards of Southwest Asian and North African women from the late 19th century onwards.
Using photography, collage, drawing, sound, text, poetry, and assemblage, the group members have drawn inspiration from their own family histories, forgotten histories of women, amulets, personal objects and old tales. Transforming Willesden Gallery into a space where imagination can lead to rich diverse pathways and webs of meaning, they will reveal how the present is connected to the past, and to the lives of the Postcard Women.
The exhibition is questioning and exploring ideas about colonialism, identity, immigration, cross-cultural encounters and how women are seen, used, and treated today.
Find out more on the exhibition's Facebook group