For many Europeans, the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia came as a great surprise. The countries of the Arab world have so long been represented as static, traditionalist societies with no room for change. The dynamics and the quest for individual freedom demonstrated by the young people who took to the streets did in no way fit into this image.
Yet, as the artistic production of this generation clearly shows, young people have long critized the distance between the lived reality of the Arab youth and those in power. In their works, they address a variety of socio-cultural and socio-political issues, often with an uncompromising willingness to confront senstive taboos that might seem surprising for outsiders.
The effects of war and civil war on society, official historiography and rhetoric are questioned, as are gender roles and the impact of images and the media. For many artists of the Arab diaspora, the stereotypical representation of Arabs in Western discourse is a central theme.
The program "So Close in the Distance" show works by artists from different Arab countries such as Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq.