How much I love autumn. 2017

Photographic installation

I haven’t seen my grandmother in seventeen years. Separated first by the fear, then by passeports, then by legal papers and finally by a 7 years war, we did meet weeks ago, for 24hours. She kept asking my father if I would like to get some rest, as I traveled from Canada to Middle-Est for 20hours, to stay watching her face for 24hours, before taking my flight back. But as I traveled for a long but safe trip, she traveled by car, for a short but stressful journey from Damascus to Beirut.

I knew the road well, I mean, on my Google Earth, as I planned many times to come to Syria to see her. But this time, I did the road on the opposite way, watching my cellphone, asking myself “Is she at this point right now ? Is she there ? Is she safe ?”. This road from Damascus to Beirut sounded threatening before, but now, its just a sweet deep memory of her body traveling from one point to another one. It was autumn, the light was very soft, the flowers started to fade, trees were on the in-between blossoming and fading.

We swallowed the spring and it became autumn. How much I love autumn.

Did those 24 hours happen in the real life ? I’m sure it did not. Even if her face disappears from my mind as a vaporous, ambiguous memory, I still have those trees, those flowers pictures. Those are for real. It exists in the real world, between the virtual map of the road and the blurring idea of her blossoming face.


Can I call it Al Dar ?. 2016

House sculpted with syrian damask tablecloths and hair, hands in ceramics and painting

Those tablecloths were made in the city of Douma, in Damascus suburb. This is a big part of the Syrian handicraft that disappears day after day because of the war. The well-known prestigious embroideries handicraft declined as a big part of the Syrian pride.

Making a house with those that we brought many years ago, before the war begins, is building this dying but fighting pride to be Syrian in 2018. The house is falling appart and all the pieces are kept together being sewn with my own hair, as my invincible heritage from my family. Wherever I am in the world, away from them. I have my DNA, I’m one of them, I have my hair.

This fragile house has no door, no windows. If you are in it, you just cannot go out, and if you are outside, you just cannot come in.
This house is fragile, but it exists, and always will.

Note: The text above was written by the Artist. No modification was made by C.O.C.A.

Poline Harbali


Born from a mixed syrian-muslim/french-catholic mariage, I grew up in France away from my syrian family who came back to Damascus when I was 4 years old. Geopolitics mutations, administrative paperworks, and war, separated myself with my family without any possibilities to see each other anymore, except through virtual communication. I developed new ways to be a family, without perfect same langages, without physical bodies. I consider those communications forms as an artistic medium, testifying about geopolitics mutations and their impacts on small little stories. The boundaries between territories have created radical moral boundaries between human beings. Then boundaries within human beings themselves. But what unites us, is that we are all born from horror and miracle.

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