New York Gallery Open 2020

March 6, 2020, 7pm EST
The Genie by Jonah Bokaer
signs and symbols
102 Forsyth Street
On March 6th, visual artist and choreographer Jonah Bokaer debuts The Genie, a performance that deconstructs the representation of men within the Middle East and North Africa through the emblematic image of a genie.

Bokaer’s extensive travels to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Jerusalem, Tunisia, and Pakistan form the basis of the imagery exhibited. The concept for the project was developed while receiving the UNC DisTIL Prize Fellowship, from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Carolina Performing Arts, which allowed Bokaer studio time to literally distill his recent movement vocabulary, on a campus which was turbulently altered by the aftermath of the “Our Three Winners” incidents of violence towards young people on United States soil. Rather than addressing identity politics topically, Bokaer spent two years of site research, and convening community dinners with the individuals, communities, and populations affected by the atrocities. Sometimes through dialogue, sometimes through dance, and sometimes through interpersonal exchange: healing was one result of the two-year project. Many of the community workshops asked the question of what a single wish might involve, for participants—leading to the image of a Genie.

The new work is staged site-specifically for signs and symbols, coinciding with his solo exhibition at the gallery: About An Arabesque.