Beldan Sezen

Wetrocities

Beldan Sezen

Wetrocities

Date

2018

Edition Size

11

Media

Hand-painting, Ink, Monoprint

Dimensions

23 × 16 × 0.8 in

Pages

16

Location

Brooklyn, NY

$ 3,200.00

4 in stock


WETROCITIES is about collective memory and love. About daring. Maybe. Maybe about daring. It’s about love and dare. They meet in the halls of collective memory.

I meet people. They tell me their stories. Mostly elders who no longer care if and how their stories will be judged. It seems more important to talk about happenings that for too long were shushed away, met with disbelief or indifference, or tabooed.

Being “White” is a social construct. How does this happen? What are the consequences of living such a construct? The demands of loyalty for “we”? And the price for our collective memory?

I think it needs courage and the willingness to listen without fearing the loss of one’s identity to overcome superficial encounters and stop those numbing efforts of indifference.

In my practice, I’m inventing new ideas, scenarios, and concepts while investigating the role of paper as well as the role of space and narrative. I’m curious about how to create spaces in which the concept of reading can become a new collective experience.

My work – rooted in the complex ideas of identity, gender, sexuality, conflict, and physical ability – transcends the pages I labor over. My most recent work visualizes and confronts my own limits in situations around pain and paralyzed bodies, the price of freedom in the context of current social unrest, terrorist attacks, and jingoism, and bully politics. While I approach each topic through my own experiences, the message and relatable stories hold true for every reader. Being an artist allows me to leave the limits of journalism behind and add the unsaid. Allowing my ideas to grow I take nothing for granted – my work is a thoughtful protest to aspects of the human experience that are often buried and pushed aside. I render the insignificant, significant.

Newspaper painted in white printers ink, ink transferred onto page with onion skin, includes hand-drawn elements and handwriting.

WETROCITIES

I must have been about four when I dropped my doll onto the streets of my hometown.
An elderly man would pick it up and hand it back to me.
Thank you, sir! I was told by my parents to always be polite.
Only this time my parents told me otherwise.
Once back home I was spanked for calling him “Sir.”
You see . . . he was not ‘we,’
and you never say “Sir” to a ‘colored’ person.
NEVER!
NOT WE.
I was corrected to never forget.
I was to stay the perpetual brat.

When I got angry you were my punching bag.
When I was bored, you were my entertainment.
I promised you equality like a carrot on a stick in front of your nose.
Your desperation proved my superiority.

Don’t you remember my secret little child, the times when I abused you, misused you, used you, used you,
So that you can save me right?
The day I called you “Sir’ faded. What lingered was some ‘unjust’ pain.
Without memory. Asking to be vindicated.
“They” became such an easy thing to say to put me in my place.
To fill this nagging emptiness when I felt left behind.

A lifetime later,
Every day on my way home we greet each other. The first time: I remember it very much, you sitting on that bench-I was taken away by your face. You wouldn’t be anything but a sweetie! Since that day we keep an eye on each other, caring.

It’s the intimacy of the streets where we share our life stories.
Never beyond.
I’m affected, yes.
But how can I be?

COLLECTIVE MEMORY
I don’t wish to put us through the pain of what I made me become.
See I’m still protecting me.
It took me a lifetime to understand my helpful politeness to ease your pain as ignorance.
To listen to you, to grant you my ear, to grant me your heart means to connect with my atrocities.
The corruption I complied with, all in the jolliest, friendliest spirit.

OVER & OVER
AGAIN AND AGAIN
I thought I would lose everything dear when the slapping hand struck.
The shame I felt after I called you “Sir”.
It was easier to betray myself.

What am I but a painful reminder of someone once beautiful and kind?

Institutional Collectors: Library of Congress, The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, University of California at Irvine (UCI), Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, University of Miami