The First Wedding, 2023 - Autostrada Biennale

The First Wedding, 2023

Artist: Selma Selman

Venue: Hangar 3

Selma Selman raises her voice, screams, shatters, dismantles, extracts. She also works with her family and writes autofiction. Selman, a Roma woman who grew up in Bosnia, makes work that is not about the limits of the physical body or endurance, but rather she is interested in how various narratives of self can be instrumentalized to break up the dysfunctional cultural and political paradigms of her world—that is, what society wants to make of her. She believes that the (constructed) artistic minority subject is a parody of identity politics, its prescriptions and categorizations being nearly absurdist. Therefore, her works not only criticize culture as a machine of perception and relation but also understand vulnerability as a new form of power. Selman grew up with her mother, a young bride from Prishtina and mother of five children, constantly warning her: “Don’t be like me.” Her contribution to 4th Autostrada Biennale is four large portraits of women from her family painted on the hood of a Mercedes—a signature medium of her practice. The portraits are from a family photo taken during the first large wedding in her hometown after the war. Selman notes how many Roma community functions ceased because of the war and the consequent economic collapse. The portraits commemorate and celebrate what allowed these women to survive such intense conditions. In Prizren, this piece weaves different parts of her artistic efforts together, tracing and rewriting her family history through women’s perspectives, freeing Roma identity from its own self-perceptions imposed by the West, and shifting the canons of portrait representation.

Selma Selman (1991) was born in Bihać and lives and works in Amsterdam.

Supported by ERIAC

Text by Övül Ö. Durmuşoğlu

Other Exhibitions

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive news, cool free stuff updates and new released products (no spam!)