This exhibition companion explores the aesthetic and political concepts inherent in Feleksan Onar’s glass artworks. Onar’s work draws on her own personal history as well as collective memory, dealing with notions of identity, constructed narratives, historical relations, and the effects of politics on society. Her newest exhibition evokes the Syrian refugee crisis through twenty-seven delicate glass swallows. The birds—perched in a public space, unable to move—are a metaphor for the millions of refugees with no home to return to. Art critic Lisa Morrow described the work as “a visceral expression of the fact that in spite of differences of religion, culture, and individual histories, what we all want most is to be in the place we call home.”
Alongside eighty full-color reproductions, the text—including a short story by renowned writer Louis de Berniéres, whose novel Birds Without Wings provided inspiration for Perched—analyzes different aspects of Onar’s work and initiates vital discussion about navigating social calamity through art.