The Upper Side of the Sky

Oct 12, 2020 — Apr 30, 2021





As part of Recollective: Vancouver Independent Archives Week, Western Front presented an online exhibition of The Upper Side of the Sky (2019) by Jawa El Khash, curated by Dana Qaddah. 

El Khash’s project presented an interactive virtual reality environment that recreated the ancient ruins of Palmyra, Syria that were destroyed by ISIS during the Syrian civil war. Translating collective and personal memories of the site into an embodied archive, Upper Side of the Sky reimagined the architecture, agriculture, and natural ecosystems of Palmyra to forefront the value of digital preservation in aiding cultural-historical memory. The online exhibition was a desktop experience that could be viewed at the Upper Side of the Sky project website.

Additional programming occurred in the form of an online conversation between Qaddah and El Khash titled Posterity and Expansion. The exhibition was also accompanied by a text by Dr. Laura U. Marks titled "A World Where Flowers Reign," alongside an illustrated transcription of Posterity and Expansion by Emma Metcalfe Hurst. These texts can be made available upon request.

Presented as part of Recollective: Vancouver Independent Archives Week, a joint initiative of 221A, Artspeak, grunt gallery, Rungh Magazine, the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, VIVO Media Arts Centre, and Western Front, with support from the Canada Council for the Arts.

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Western Front is a non-profit
artist-run centre in Vancouver.

We acknowledge the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations as traditional owners of the land upon which Western Front stands.