This sound art installation—a project that developed as a collaboration between the two members of chirikli collective, Lynn Hutchinson Lee and Hedina Tahirović Sijerčić—is the result of a complex research undertaking in which the artists archived and juxtaposed various found and created sounds in the form of urban and natural soundscapes consisting of overlaying poetry verses, written and spoken by the artists, and spoken testimonies of five displaced Hungarian Roma women who fled Europe to seek refuge in Canada. The “whispering” voices convey the poetic transpositions of the promised imaginary land, Canada, starting from different subjective experiences of memories, cultural and ethnic displacement, precariousness, family joys and laments, and testimonies of shame. The sounds of the turning wheels of Lee’s family vardo (caravan) are intertwined with Sijerčić’s “dreams” of Romani children’s laughter, footsteps corresponding to elements in her poetry, and the sound of bombs in the Bosnian Roma ghetto. For Roma, Canada has no “shadows,” and thus it attracted many Roma families to settle there (as did Lee’s father long ago) but new legal hurdles prevent many from receiving the desired refugee status. (Suzana Milevska)
LYNN HUTCHINSON LEE (born 1946) and HEDINA TAHIROVIĆ SIJERČIĆ (born 1960) together form the chirikli collective. Hutchinson Lee is a painter, muralist, and multimedia artist. As a member of the artist collective Red Tree she has worked on various interdisciplinary, socially engaged, and cross-cultural projects. Recent exhibitions include: Ololo (our natural bodies: mapping and surveillance) (with Amanda Hale), Galería Guayasamín, Havana, 2008; Metanoia, Toronto Free Gallery, Toronto, 2008; and Elemental (with Amanda Hale), Galería Guayasamín, Havana, 2007. Hutchinson Lee lives and works in Toronto. Tahirović Sijerčić is a writer, journalist, and educator. She previously worked as a journalist and producer for radio and TV in Sarajevo. Recent publications include: English-Romani/Romani-English dictionary (forthcoming, 2011); Romani-Bosnian/Bosnian-Romani dictionary (published by the Federal Ministry of Education and Science, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2010); and Listen, feel pain/Ašun, haćar dukh (2007), a collection of poems. Tahirović Sijerčić lives and works in Kerken.
Hedina Tahirović Sijerčić, artist statement, Call the Witness, Roma Pavilion, 03.06.2011, Venice
Lynn Hutchinson Lee, artist statement, Call the Witness, Roma Pavilion, 03.06.2011, Venice