fbpx Biennale Arte 2024 | Joyce Joumaa
La Biennale di Venezia

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Joyce Joumaa

Beirut, Lebanon, 1998

Lives in Montreal, Canada

  • TUE - SUN
    20/04 > 30/09
    11 AM - 7 PM
    01/10 > 24/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Central Pavilion
  • Admission with ticket

Joyce Joumaa is an artist and filmmaker whose work engages with histories shaped by conflict and crisis, often rooted in her native Lebanon or in diasporic experiences. In Memory Contours (2024), Joumaa turns to a chapter of the eugenics movement in the United States and its effects on newly arrived immigrants in the early 1900s. Specifically, she investigates the “intelligence” tests designed to identify mental deficiency, potentially leading to the detention and deportation of individuals. Departing from the 1914 US Public Health Service report Mentality of the Arriving Immigrant, Joumaa focuses on a particular mental test conducted on Ellis Island, New York, where participants were instructed to draw shapes from memory. She replicates four drawings featured in the report as case studies and juxtaposes them with close-up videos of hands recreating each sketch. The interplay heightens a tension between drawing as a gestural expression and its instrumentalisation as a measure of skill and intelligence. Joumaa’s installation lays bare the discriminatory controls imposed on newcomers and the systemic stigmatisation of foreignness, linking it to inadequacy, unsuitability, and inferiority.

This is the first time the work of Joyce Joumaa is presented at Biennale Arte.

—Julia Eilers Smith

Central Pavilion
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