Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture (July 2015)
Issam Kourbaj is based in Cambridge and grew up in southern Syria. He has made a series of installations in response to the crisis in Syria, responding most recently to the situation of the many refugees. "Another Day Lost" re-uses discarded books, medicine packaging and matches, to make tiny fragile tents, some of which are marked with Issam's distinctive black lines (based on Arabic calligraphy and representing traditional mourning ribbons). The camp is enclosed with a fence of burned matches - one match struck for each day of the Syrian conflict (since March 15th 2011).
I find Issam's work very thought provoking and moving, especially after learning about the symbolism behind various aspects of his work. For example, Another Day Lost was first shown in 3 or 4 sites across London, physically spread out in a similar pattern to refugee camps around Syria; in different venues (church, warehouse, disused pub) reminding us that people in flight have to adapt to where ever they can find shelter.
See post on Sadik Al Fraji, whose work I saw at White Chapel Gallery as part of the Barjeel Art Foundation Collection.