Discover an alternate Morocco as Manasseh traces back to her Sephardic roots in a transcendent visual journey
Singapore, February 2021 — Be treated to a spectacular visual art experience as Singapore based, British fine artist Chloë Manasseh explores her Sephardic roots in her solo exhibition, CASA. The exhibition reflects on how one’s concept of home and identity shifts over time. CASA delves into Jewish folklore, featuring wall paintings, two-sided folding screens, a tile installation and pots that will transport the viewer to an alternate Morocco born from the artist’s vivid imagination. Folklore tales, much like memory or landscapes, are imprecise and subject to change. Manasseh is interested in the imprecision of memory and the process by which imagination can intrude on physical space, influencing how people establish a connection to it, reflecting on how we inhabit space through visual identity.
Meaning; Home in Spanish
Nickname for Casablanca, Morocco
Chloë Manasseh is a British Israeli artist, with familial roots in Morocco, Iraq, Portugal, Britain, Israel, India, and Singapore, etc. Her paternal family is of Jewish Baghdadi origin, and was originally settled between Calcutta (India) and Singapore, contributing to the establishment of a Jewish community here in Singapore. The artist’s mother was born in Casablanca (Morocco), living there for a short while before her family, like many others, journeyed to Israel via Marseille. Having already established a career in Europe with notable projects and residencies across the continent as well as in the US, Manasseh’s journey of self-discovery has continued in this latest exhibition in Singapore.
The works in CASA evoke differing experiences of being indoors and outdoors, exploring memories of absence, the value of tradition, and the search upwards for the divine. Perhaps, the connecting factor is not only the roots created on the ground, but the unconscious collective desire of the Jewish people to be re-connected and together once more; to look up instead of down.
The curation of the works will create a path for the viewer, where they will be confronted with domestic space. Inspired by Manasseh’s Moroccan heritage, strong vibrant colours and heavily patterned botanical surfaces, alongside the natural landscape, evoke a search for the others. Vertiginous works force the imaginative gaze of the viewer upwards, looking through an expanse of trees, exploring perceptions of identity and rootedness within a given landscape.
Chloë Manasseh (b.1990, London)
Lives and works in Singapore
Chloë Manasseh’s works have been shown internationally with exhibitions in the USA, UK, Italy, Israel and Singapore. She has collaborated extensively with artists, musicians, clothing and interior designers on various projects around the world. Working between painting, print, video and installation, her work sits between experience and imagination, and considers the limits of representation in relation to the wholeness of experience. Exploring the fragility of vision and ideas of remixing reality, she reflects on the relationship between individual and collective memory, her identity within space and her forged identity within new spaces.
Manasseh was invited by The British High Commission to showcase a series of works from 21 January to 21 May 2019 in an exhibition titled “The Fruitfulness of Forgetting”, inspired by Eden Hall, the historical bungalow where her late grandfather was born and currently the residence of the High Commissioner. While The Fruitfulness of Forgetting was inspired by her paternal roots, the upcoming CASA exhibition explores her maternal roots, following a defining two years in her life during which time she finished a masters and got married in Singapore.
“According to Antonio Muñoz Molina’s book Sepharad, his exploration of displacement in many Sephardic Jewish families aligns with my undercurrent nostalgia for the absence of the other, providing an “option of identity for the people of the Mediterranean”. If I consider the absent other in my origin, identity and roots, I reflect on Morocco; a Moroccan family who stayed behind, whom I may never know, my identity as a Moroccan Sephardic Jew, and as a Jewish woman.”