Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Emanuel Licha Q&A Out in Today's National Post

I really enjoyed Emanuel Licha's War Tourist series when it was showing at the Art Gallery of Ontario a few years ago. So I was excited to speak with him on the phone recently on the occasion of a two-venue Prairies show at Latitude 53 in Edmonton and Paved Arts in Saskatoon.

The resulting condensed Q&A from our conversation came out in today's National Post. An excerpt:

Q What started your War Tourist series?

A In 2004, I was living in Sarajevo and documenting a bombed house. A car arrived and one woman and two men stepped out. The men were journalists and started taking photographs. They stayed five minutes, then the woman handed me her business card, and I saw that she was a tourist guide. I was pretty naive then, because I didn't know there were tourists of war-torn areas, and that there have been for centuries. That night, I decided to abandon my projects. I felt concerned by the war, but obviously, being Canadian and never having been under a bomb attack, I felt it wasn't legitimate for me to speak about. But the next morning, I called the woman, and that became the first video in the series. It was like, "OK ... I'll be a tourist." Finding the idea of the "war tourist" was, to me, an answer to this problem of legitimacy, a ridiculous way for me to address my own situation vis-à-vis wars.

For more, check out the Arts & Life section of today's Post.

(Image from Emanuel Licha's R for Real courtesy the artist.)

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