Cécile Elise Sabella
2007 - 2008
Photo prints on primed canvas & an Artist Book. UNIQUE
Thames & Hudson & TransGlobe Publishing By Hossein Amirsadeghi & Salwa Mikdadi
New Vision – Arab Contemporary Art in the 21st Centur
More recently Sabella has explored the concept of ‘exile’ from a different perspective: his daughter. As he touchingly explains: “When Cécile was born…it was only a question of time until we had difficulties communicating. She speaks Swiss German [the language of Sabella’s wife], I speak Arabic, and neither of us understands what the other is talking about. She is simply foreign to me.” Sabella’s response was a series of photographs of the material of his daughter’s clothes, from outside and inside. “This work attempts to establish a relationship between us by photographing her clothes from both sides – inside and outside. A cloth, no matter what, will always have its other side. This mirrors the basic fact that in essence, Cécile and I will always have a connection.”
Harper’s Bazaar Art Arabia
Fragments | Sheyma Buali
The final room was dedicated to Sabella’s daughter Cecile, a recurrent figure in his work. In this small room, the viewer was surrounded by photographs of the bright colours of her clothes. The image suggest that this little girl has now entered Sabella’s fragmented world as he almost obsessively documents the patterns, stitching, lint and stains of her garments. In a handmade book made up of the same colourful images, Sabella left a half-erased handwritten note for all to see: ‘I gave birth to something alien to me. When Cecile was born forty-three months ago, it was only a question of time until we had difficulties communicating.’ Cecile spoke her mother’s Swiss-German while he spoke Arabic. ‘She is simply foreign to me,’ he writes. But upon moving from Jerusalem to London, Sabella recounts how he and his daughter found a language between them in a common experience of exile.
Steve Sabella – The Journey of Artistic Interrogation and Introspection Retrospective
Yasmin El Rashidi | Contemporary Practices Journal, VI
It was in that moment, in the sharing of the sameness of a view of exile, that a language was developed between father and child, between one exile and another. And it was in that moment, that a realisation of relativity and perspective was formed. In Cecile Elise Sabella (2008), Sabella photographs the fabric of Cecile’s clothes from both sides, making testimony to the science of “the other side” and the duality of exile. In this work we bear witness to a father, who is an artist, who is brought to understanding in a single moment, that no matter what, there is another side; and a connection, even in silence, with Cecile.
Video of The Artist Book
In Exile Solo | Metroquadro Gallery | Turin
Exhibition Review of Euphoria & Beyond
Christa Paul | The Empty Quarter Gallery, Dubai
Both Six Israelis and One Palestinian and Cecile Elise Sabella mandate the acknowledgment of the individual as an autonomous being worthy of recognition. The latter, a tender and apologetic declaration of love from the artist to his young daughter, portrays pairs of square-cuts from the child’s colourful clothes and is included in the exhibition. Conceived as an artist’s book, these images too deal with duality, but they also mirror the essential connection between a father and a daughter, two exiles born in Jerusalem, two of the same cloth.
Cécile Elisa Sabella
Hand-stitched on cotton primed canvas on two threads, one chosen from each side.
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