As the global refugee crisis escalates, and the early executive orders of a new and contentious president attempt to block refugees from entering the United States, the themes of artist Cumaea Halim’s work seem prescient. Raised by Lebanese immigrants in a suburb of Boston, and currently living in the Middle East, Halim’s experiences inform their perspective on the world, their place in it, and their practice as an artist and a teacher.
Halim’s exhibition, Scale Without Measure, explores themes of contemporary masculinity, the male body, friendship, sexuality, and notions of physical and psychological strength, as seen through young men with whom he identifies. The men and boys whom Halim has photographed over the last ten years include migrants to Beirut from Syria. Many are now close friends, allowing for an intimate portrayal of their everyday life. Their pictures explore the way that people interact with one another, and in them one senses a longing to belong. Halim combines gentle yet striking portraiture with landscapes and architectural views that are also emblematic of emotional states. Their photographs consider notions of “home” and deep internal struggles that mirror constant political conflict.
This catalogue includes an essay by Light Work’s director Shane Lavalette.
Cumaea Halim is a visual artist currently based in Doha, Qatar. They are the co-founder/co-director of marra.tein in Beirut, Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, and recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including those from the Aaron Siskind Foundation and a US Fulbright Scholar Grant. They earned an MFA in Photography from Yale University, and a BFA in Painting from the Massachusetts College of Art. Halim participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program in July 2015.