The Italian-Senegalese artist Maïmouna Guerresi designs the colorful robes in her mystical portraits, fashioning each look from textiles she has collected while traveling through Africa and Asia. Her latest exhibition reimagines the story of Alice in Wonderland through the eyes of an African Muslim woman, Aisha, in a series of sculptures and photographs. Her work examines the human body and spirituality across cultures.
Aisha in Wonderland is an allegorical journey that centers around themes dear to Guerresi and links to the charm and the value of the mystic and veiled body’s diversity. It is the representation of the spiritually strong woman who, through her own identity, is able to dissolve the distinctions present between the masculine and feminine genres, leaving aside the stereotypes linked to Islam.
For over twenty years, Guerresi’s poetic work has been about empowering women, bringing together individuals and cultures in an appreciation for the shared humanity that transcends psychological, cultural, and political borders.
The exhibition developed around the concept of inner identity and communication, as the importance of freedom of expression, a narrative path, where video works, photographs and installations alternate. The different dimensions of the photographic works and their position in the exhibition space recall the proportions of Alice in the famous novel in which she becomes big or small depending on her meetings and experiences.
In this reinterpretation, Aisha does not appear as the protagonist of this visual narration, but as the gaze through which the observer manages to access an inner and hidden universe. Her new series deal with the theme of equilibrium through a metaphysical and surreal interpretative key, articulated by means of two different techniques: the sculptural installation and the photographic installation. The protagonists of the photographs walk or stop in unusual spaces, appropriating new physical and spiritual faculties.
These characters are a metaphor for the idea of identity, which in this work has been re-envisioned on the basis of spatial, cultural, and linguistic coordinates that transcend geographical boundaries.