Who's Afraid? exhibited at Incinerator Gallery, 2023, presents two bodies of work: Safak Gurboga's 'The Big Bad Wolf and 1938' and Emilie Syme-Lamont's 'Revelations'. Presented together, these projects are a conversation, exploring themes of displacement, the anthropomorphising of fears through myth-making, and the cultural structures behind states of 'unhomeliness'.
'The Big Bad WoIf and 1938' references a Kurdish massacre in Turkey 1937-38. The oversized depiction of the wolf, both childlike and terrifying, has undergone a journey (finally resulting in its destruction by fire) allowing the artist to reclaim ownership over the monster. While speaking to this specific event, the work explores its wider implications including the continued dispersion of the Kurdish diaspora, the continuity of ethnic and cultural minorities globally, and the state of Gurboga's individual displacement.
Emilie Syme-Lamont's 'Revelations' similarly uses the animal motif to tell something of a post-colonial ghost story, responding to scientific, religious and historical transgressions.
The large white deer in the painting is a shapeshifter, at once vulnerable and displaced as well as an uninvited visitor. Syme-Lamont's use of claw footed supports and museological display methods reimagine a gothic site; wherein characteristics of native and alien, virtuous and sinister, remain undefined.