The third exhibition part of KO-OP’s series of site-specific installations and curatorial programme Like the State, the Toilet is Never Neutral presents Transitional (un)Justice by the artist Bayr(y)am Bayr(y)amali.
London-based Bulgarian Turkish visual researcher, Bayr(y)am Bayr(y)amali is a journalist, facilitator and art activist born in 1997. Through his work, he explores the themes of memory, reconciliation and participation through photography and in a gallery context. As a child of Bulgarian Turks who experienced ethnic cleansing during the communist regime in Bulgaria, his practice deals with issues of new world borders, il/legal identities and intergenerational trauma. In his current practice, Bayr(y)am challenges the imperial condition of Western art galleries and museums through advocacy and boycott.
The Transitional (un)Justice intervention creates a space for discussion and consideration regarding the role, influence and results brought by the justice system during the transition period.
The starting point of this work is the investigation and case № II-048/1999 г. which started as one of the crimes of the communist regime (1944 – 1989) – the assimilation, forceful displacement, ethnic cleansing, internment in camps and persecution of the ethnic minorities.
“The case is part of the processes which took place during the transition from communism to democracy in Bulgaria. The perpetrators of these crimes have not been sentenced, and the case was terminated this year by the statute of limitations.
In the installation, Bayr(y)amali presents three texts in English, Bulgarian and Turkish - one from a dictionary, another from a document of the UN regarding transitional justice, and the last one is a manifesto written by the artist. These words are spread across the tiles and walls of the toilet, and evoke us to be active viewers - not only in this space but also in the gallery and in the museum. They provoke us to ask questions about the duties and activities of museums, and to review them as transitions, translators and catalysts of history, the past and of injustices. As spaces which must carry a critical approach, such that recontextualises official and outdated narratives.” - shares Krasimira Butseva
Transitional (un)Justice is on view in KO-OP until November 30.