This article focuses on the contemporary visual art practices by Kurdish female artists as strategies of counter-memory. The Kurdish community in Turkey has been facing ongoing violence, with its (cultural) heritage, memory, and archives constantly under threat. In this article, I use the archaeological metaphors of “ruins” and “ruination” by Ann Laura Stoler to examine the destruction, and discuss a selection of contemporary artworks by Kurdish women artists who represent such forces of destruction symbolically to build a counter-archive. Consulting research from other disciplines to explain the colonial dynamics in the region, I trace the decolonial feminist discourse within the Kurdish women’s movement. Finally, I explain how the female body and the city are recurrent themes in these artworks to challenge the colonialist, heteronormative, and nationalistic paradigms. Such artistic expressions of ruination, I argue, animate politics, disturb common sense, and mobilize counter-memory, one that is decolonial and feminist.

You do not currently have access to this content.