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Jamil Hellu Artist Talk

On Syrian and queer identity at Aggregate Space gallery.

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In artist Jamil Hellu’s current solo show at Aggregate Space gallery, All Ways Lead to the Mill, there’s a Victorian-looking living room set up — complete with upholstered chairs and curtains framing a gilded mirror. But as you look closer, you’ll find that the upholstery covering every surface of the set features imagery of men in Arabic headscarves engaging in sexy, queer displays of affection. Hellu grew up in America, but his roots are Syrian and Arabic. His snarky work in the excellent show, presented in conjunction with the National Queer Arts Festival, explores the conflicts at the intersection of the Syrian and queer aspects of his identity. Attempting to navigate his heritage, knowing that if he were to return to Syria as a queer man he would likely be killed, Hellu offers profound inside into the contemporary discourse around intersectional identity. On Saturday, June 11, Hellu will expand on that conversation with a free artist talk.

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