SomoS is pleased to present Criss-Cross Pollination, a group exhibition examining the socio-politic relationships between Botanics and humans within the framework of migrancy. It uses narration as a tool to address persisting critiques of global policies on migration and their impact on immigrants, involving topics such as belonging, identity, and alienation.

Integrating the results of botanical archive research and a series of surveys, the exhibition builds on the curator’s and participating artists’ personal experiences of finding ethnic coexistence in a foreign country. With “plant” as its central metaphor, it explores connections between the movement of humans and that of plants, highlighting the vital importance of diversity and cross-pollination versus the negative effects of monoculture.

Curated by Ayça Okay as part of her curatorial residence at SomoS, the exhibition features noted artists originally from Turkey, Germany, Syria, and Egypt: Anwar Al Atrash, İnci Eviner, Jasmina Metwaly, Manaf Halbouni, and Verena Kyselka.

In the project, Okay relies on her extensive research on Urbanism, Post-Anthropocentrism, Ecocriticism, Entanglement Theory (in Archeology), and Critical Arts Theory to analyze the role of Botanics and humans within the perspective of urban life. The curator’s residency experience in Berlin as a Turkish art professional influenced the project. As she states, “I learned that plants, like humans, are exposed to various biological pressures by the dominant species in the ecosystem they migrate to. This migration, which is sometimes devastating for the migrant, can sometimes be devastating for the migrating ecosystem. Plants also go through a process where they are exposed to as much ‘paperwork’ as humans.”

It is clear that the organic is no match for the legal, however. Proposing new ways of looking at migration, Criss-Cross Pollination invites the audience to consider the value of mobility to existing social designs and ecosystems, as it touches upon the experiences of individuals as they adapt, just like plants. In this way, following the suggestion of the French writer and poet Eduard Glissant, the exhibition proposes a different way of thinking about migration, replacing it with the expression “SoJourner.”

Across its diverse artistic positions, the exhibition addresses highly current issues, regarded and interpreted from a migrant point of view, in a plea for an accessible interconnected global world.

Participating Artists:
İnci Eviner (TR) - video -
Jasmina Metwaly (EG/PL) - video -
Anwar Al Atrash (SY) - installation -
Verena Kyselka (DE) -i nstallation -
Manaf Halbouni (SY) - paintings -