Events — Dec 2, 2022

Drawing Faces (in Terror Times) is organized with De Appel and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and shaped through a year-long research by Edwin Nasr, De Appel’s 2021-2022 Curatorial Program Fellow. The two-day program takes as its starting point The Neighbour (2005), a painting by South African, Amsterdam-based artist Marlene Dumas, currently part of the Stedelijk Museum’s permanent collection. The source material for the painting originates from a police mugshot of Mohammed Bouyeri, now serving a life sentence in the Netherlands for the highly mediatised assassination of filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004.

Valid museumticket + €3,- 
Teijin Auditorium and Zadelhoff Café
Dec 2, 2022, 4 pm until 6.30 pm
Main language

Drawing Faces (in Terror Times) implicates Dumas’ portrait in order to reflect on the paradoxes of representation through a carceral, racial, and postcolonial lens. Photographer Allan Sekula notably formulated in The Body and the Archive, that “every proper portrait has its lurking, objectifying inverse in the files of the police”. How then can the diverse positions of artistic practices and theoretical interventions evade subjugation and the punitive gaze through which these processes of exclusion are reproduced?

  • Painting by Marlene Dumas
    Marlene Dumas, 'The Neighbour', 2005
  • Photo of Miriyam Aouragh
    Miriyam Aouragh
  • Portrait of S*an D. Henry Smith
    S*an D. Henry Smith
  • Foto of Amal Alhaag with shiny face mask
    Amal Alhaag
  • Portrait of Ola Hassanain
    Ola Hassanain

The program unfolds over two days:

The first, held at the Stedelijk Museum on December 2, will aim to examine through a keynote by leading scholar Miriyam Aouragh on the past two decades in the Netherlands in relation to the global 'war on terror', and the ongoing communal attempts at countering the structural racisms and Islamophobic sentiment worsened by the rise of the Dutch far right and the successive assassinations of Pim Fortuyn and van Gogh.

Three performative readings by S*an D. Henry Smith, Amal Alhaag, and Ola Hassanain, will speculate on how to mediate portraiture to diverse publics when the racialized subject being represented is a perceived threat to national security.

The second, taking place at De Appel on December 3, will be structured around three different interventions aiming to dive into the workings of portraiture, capture and the grammar of terror. Two keynote lectures by scholars Jaleh Mansoor and Avery F. Gordon will delve into representation’s aesthetic and ethical paradoxes, as well as its imbrication in historical eruptions of state violence, and the continued bargaining of life and dignity at the margins. A lecture-performance by artist Isshaq Albarbary will examine fantasies of citizenship and statelessness as they come to inform identification processes at the individual and state level.

Tickets for 3 December at De Appel here.

Participants’ Biographies


Miriyam Aouragh

grew up in Amsterdam as a second generation Dutch-Moroccan and has a background in cultural anthropology and non-Western sociology (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam). Aouragh was a political organizer between 2000 and 2009 in the Netherlands. Beside her involvement in the anti-war coalition Stop de Oorlog after 9/11, she was a fierce critic of the Dutch support of the Coalition of the willing and the subsequent invasion, bombardment and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. She was also a member of the anti-racism coalition Stop de Hetze, which evolved into Samen Tegen Racisme, following the killings of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh. With the emergence of Geert Wilders breaking through parliamentary politics she was involved as a spokesperson with the national anti-racist organisation Nederland Bekend Kleur. She co-organized two major national demonstrations, community events such as Wat Wil Wilders and Kerwin Duijnmeyer Herdenking, and festivals such as Rhythms Against Racism. “Her White Privilege: Shortcuts to Anti-racism” has been described as a landmark essay, and she is currently completing a follow-up intervention, “Radical Kinship:Antiracism beyond Neoliberal Performance”. At present Aouragh is Reader at the Communication and Media Research Institute, University of Westminster, where she researches cyber warfare, online grassroots politics, and Arab (counter-) revolutions.


S*an D. Henry-Smith

S*an D. Henry-Smith is an artist and writer working primarily in poetry, photography, and performance, engaging Black experimentalisms and collaborative practices. They have received awards and fellowships from the Fulbright Program, The Poetry Project, Poets House, and Antenna/Paper Machine. Their words and photographs have appeared in Aperture PhotoBook Review, Apogee Journal, FACT, FLASH ART, CanadianArt, The New York Times, them, Triple Canopy, and across several book projects. They are the author of two chapbooks, Body Text and Flotsam Suite: A Strange & Precarious Life, or How We Chronicled the Little Disasters & I Won’t Leave the Dance Floor Til It’s Out of My System; as mouthfeel, they coauthored Consider the Tongue alongside Imani Elizabeth Jackson, which explores histories of aquatic labor and Black food through cooking, poetry, and ephemeral practices. Wild Peach is their first full-length poetry collection.

Amal Alhaag

Amal Alhaag is an Amsterdam-based curator, researcher and dirty cultural worker. She likes to collaborate with people, initiatives and often works in and outside of institutions and public spaces to create, stage, compose impermanent settings for mutual aid, discomfort, dancing, listening, (un)learning and conversation.

Ola Hassanain

Ola Hassanain leads a critical spatial practice as a visual artist and trained architect. In her work, she focuses on the subtle politics of space—namely, how built spaces react to and reinforce violence from state entities. She situates the built environment as something that regulates the lives of those who inhabit it. Ola premises her work on an idea of “space as political discourse,” an expanded notion of space that tries to develop spatial vocabularies that make it possible to aspire to new kinds of ecologies. Ola's development of critical spatial practice is partly informed by her post-academic training; an ongoing Rijksakademie residency, a BAK fellowship 2017-2018, and teaching a Blackerblackness Master course Sandberg Instituut 2021- Ongoing and HKU University of the Arts Utrecht at the Fine Art Department 2017- ongoing, amongst other international collaborations.