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Finding Barakah
An Auto-Ethnographic Sensory Remembrance of a Year in Yemen

Mixed-media installation including: video projection, television, Yemeni cultural artifacts arranged in a reconstructed mafraj (a “sitting room,” traditionally a room with a view)

[Suite 208], 80 Spadina June 1 - 25, Toronto ON Canada

Weaving through personal antidotes and self-reflection, this project is about turnbull as a student and how she navigated, and understood, living in Yemen for a year. As a student of anthropology, political science, and Arabic, the experience, like this documentary installation, directly engages with the value of auto-ethnography and its place in academic scholarship. Finding Barakah addresses issues of otherness, the gaze, and the politics of place and space, along with a personal and bitter-sweet sensory experience of living in the Republic of Yemen.

Finding Barakah is situated in the mafraj, an area in the Yemeni home often used for entertaining guests and watching television. Alluding to, rather than reconstructing, an actual Yemeni space, the project includes objects brought back from Yemen. Engaging with sensory memory, the installation evokes taste, touch, and smell, sight and hearing to create and recreate experiences as it straddles the binaries of here and there, them and us.

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