Contemporary Arts Center
Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center
for Contemporary Art
44 E. 6th Street,
Cincinnati, OH 45202

513 345 8400


Marwa Arsanios: A Letter Inside a Letter

Examine new forms of coexistence and mutual support

17 September

27 February

Exhibition Highlights

Exhibition Details

Employing filmmaking, sculpture, textiles, drawing, and writing, Marwa Arsanios examines the connections between feminist politics, resistance movements, land struggles, and the natural world. Her collaborative projects evolve from a sustained engagement with specific communities, archives, and ideas, and present alternatives to dominant economic and social systems. Through a research-based practice, she conceptualizes new approaches to living in harmony with the land through collectivism and small-scale forms of resistance.

For her solo exhibition at the CAC, Arsanios presents the four films that comprise her magnum opus Who is Afraid of Ideology (2017–21)—including one world premiere—alongside a series of textile works. The films knit together portraits of vibrant rural landscapes with first-person testimonies and poetic interludes that reconfigure the relationship between humanity and the environment. Featuring indigenous farmers and organizers in Colombia, Mexico, Syria, Iraq and northern Lebanon, as well as social activists and guerrilla fighters connected with the Kurdish autonomous women’s movement, the films incorporate original footage and interviews that capture anti-authoritarian struggles and transnational, militarized feminist movements from the perspective of their most outspoken, yet often overlooked, voices.

About the Artist

Marwa Arsanios was born in 1978 in Washington, D.C. She received her BA from Lebanese American University, Beirut (2001) and her MFA from University of the Arts, London (2007). She subsequently served as a researcher in the fine art department at Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, Netherlands (2011-12). She has had solo exhibitions at the Beirut Art Center (2017); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2016); Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2016); Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon (2015); and Art in General, New York (2015). Her work has also been shown in a number of group exhibitions, including the 11th Berlin Biennial (2020); Soft Power, SFMoMA, San Francisco (2019); From Ear to Ear to Eye, Nottingham Contemporary, UK (2017); Home Return, Maxxi Museum, Rome (2017); Let’s Talk about the Weather, Sursock Museum, Beirut (2016); HERE AND NOW, Ludwig Museum, Cologne (2016); Thessaloniki Biennial (2015); Here and Elsewhere, New Museum, New York (2014); 55th Venice Biennale (2013); Meeting Points 7 - Ten Thousand Wiles and a Hundred Thousand Tricks, M HKA, Antwerp (2013); In Other Words, nGbK, Berlin (2012) and 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011), among others.

Screenings of her videos have taken place at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2011, 2017); Berlin International Film Festival (2010, 2015) and e-flux storefront, New York (2009). She currently lives and works between Berlin and Beirut.

Curated by

The exhibition is curated by Amara Antilla, Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati.

Sponsored by

John and Ronnie ShoreGale and Dave BeckettJimmy and Lauren MillerCarol Weston RobertsBarbara Weston Sasser

Supported by

The WomxnCAC Exhibition Fund

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