October 26 - December 18, 2010
University Galleries of Illinois State University is pleased to present works by internationally exhibited, multi-media artist, Nadia Hotait. Hotait uses sound and video to deal with the boundaries of culture and the nature of identity. With dual Spanish-Lebanese citizenship and ties to Illinois (she received her M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009), she uncovers beauty within complex geopolitical issues, making her subjects both relevant and accessible to any audience. Although Hotait has exhibited in France, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Spain, and throughout the U.S., preferring the fleeting happiness on earth is her first museum survey. The accompanying programs present a unique cultural opportunity for the Bloomington-Normal community.
Hotait will exhibit six video installations at University Galleries, as well as an outdoor video projection appearing nightly on the façade of the Center for Visual Arts, and two films at the historic Normal Theater. These works include cultural narratives stemming from Mexico, Lebanon, and the United States. In Do you know who I am?, Hotait visits a small Mexican village and films a reversal of the typical journalistic investigation. Hotait’s voice is heard from behind the camera asking numerous residents: “Do you know who I am?” Their answers are demonstrative examples of the assumptions and stereotypes we all make as we attempt to identify the other in our midst.
Hotait returns to Lebanon to uncover love (58 Degrees), loss (Preferring the Fleeting Happiness on Earth), and the metaphysics of humor (The Eternal Happiness in Heaven). She further explores her cultural heritage using melodic storytelling—a tradition used throughout the Arab world—as a lullaby for clothed bodies simultaneously suspended in a state of freedom and detention in Besides the Sea.
Co-sponsored by MECCPAC, a Dean of Students Diversity Initiative and the Unit for International Linkages, Office of International Studies and Programs.