Artwork

Passport Agency / Amado Al Fadni

2011
Amado Al Fadni, Passport Agency, 2011
Views
Identifier

IWC.2011.327

Materials

silk screen and presidential photograph digitally reproduced

Artist Statement
The ‘Passport Agency’ was first presented in Cairo during the Sudanese referendum vote. It initially explored the concepts of nationality and identity many Sudanese were struggling with as the country divided, and passports for the new South Sudan were granted based on ethnic and religious criteria, rather than where, geographically, an individual might live.

In the installation, visitors are granted a passport with no application criteria, which permits travel anywhere. The lack of restrictions is intended to free individuals from the burden of having their identity and rights dictated by an unalterable document; or to alleviate the condition of the world’s 12 million stateless persons, who have no political identity or rights.

The current installation draws on the artist’s own experience applying for US entry to attend the opening of this exhibition. He has so far not been granted a visa. This 2nd phase is intended to take the visitor through the experience of visa application, which can vary wildly based on seemingly random factors: the applicant’s nationality, the experience or mood of the interviewer, and the time of day of the visa interview appointment. Questions on the application are taken directly from the application for a US visa.

This installation of ‘Passport Agency’ is designed to confront visitors with questions about the connection between nationality and personal identity, and about whether the visa system in place is really the best way to decide who may travel and who may not.
About the Artist
Amado Al Fadni is an Egyptian-born Sudanese artist. His childhood was composed of two environments: the Cairene street and the Sudanese home. The relationship, and sometimes tension, between the two strongly influenced his view of both cultures. In his own work, he draws on the character of the city for inspiration. He uses motifs and textures found in junk markets, antique shops, modern advertising, and ancient monuments. His images are rooted in place but not in time, often incorporating ancient, historical, and modern elements at once.
September 9, 2011 - February 12, 2012
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