L-R: 'Harness,' image stills from interviews with children. Essma Imady


Essma Imady: Thicker Than Water

Every Tue., Wed., Thu., Fri., Sat., and Sun. from March 15-June 24
Time Varies
Art, Museums

Syrian artist Essma Imady reflects on the experiences of immigrant and refugee children in “Thicker Than Water,” a mixed-media exhibition at Mia’s MAEP Gallery. Through film footage and reimagined objects, Imady examines how kids’ identities are formed, and how they understand complex concepts like war, displacement, and home. Footage of interviews with refugee children in Istanbul are presented alongside everyday—but altered—items. There’s Receiving Blanket, made from a soft, touchable material with an image of twisted metal that represents the sharp edges of a broken home. For Comfort Object, a teddy bear has been stuffed with a mother’s weight in lead. These pieces meditate on parental anxiety in the general population and in refugees, and how that anxiety is passed on to children. Imady fled Syria with her now-husband in 2011 after protests erupted near Arab International University, where she studied art. She completed her B.A. at St. Cloud State University and her MFA at MCAD. The couple has a four-year-old daughter who prompted Imady’s own questions about what it means to be Syrian.