Sacred Man, 2019

The “Sacred Man” project presents two portraits of the members of marginalized groups as shooting targets. The targets also show information about the person in the image such as their name, date of birth, and the city where they are born.

Sacred Man is the English translation of Giorgio Agamben’s book Homo Sacer. It refers to a figure of Roman law meaning: “A person who can be killed with impunity.” A person who is forcefully excluded from society by sovereignty and belongs to the world of nonhumans/objects. As a result, killing him will not be considered homicide.

This socially engaged art project, which is inspired by the pro-gun culture of the South, questions the system which deprives a certain group of people of their own rights and situates them in an inferior ontological situation that brings to mind the notion of Homo Sacer.

Presented in an artistic context, an image of a body transforms into a representation of a historical idea that contains intricate social, cultural, and political marks. Those marks become connotative signs that are indicative of issues such as race, nationality, and identity. In its new context, the act of shooting also become the representation of a systematic elimination, degradation, and dehumanization of a certain group of people by another group.

I incorporate pictures of a male and a female belonging to two minority communities – one portraying myself as a Middle Eastern man and the other featuring an Afro-American woman. Both individuals represent what I call “Sacred Man.” This project uses this figure inspired by historical contexts to scrutinize the lingering impacts of euro-centric social discourses in today’s society. It also focuses on amplifying the viewpoints of marginalized communities and establishes links between present-day liberation movements and their historical origins.