In Rami George’s videos and installations, autobiography becomes a form of history writing that complicates official narratives. The artist takes personal and embodied experiences as points of departure to re-appraise enduring civic and social issues, ranging from the legacies of the civil war in Lebanon to familial and queer histories. Considering these various cultural inheritances, George’s work employs found images, media, and texts to present a radiating network of events and relationships that link past to present and individual to collective experience.
In two related video essays, Untitled (Saturday, October 16, 1993) (2015) and Untitled (with my father) (2020), the artist examines their family’s entanglement with a New Age spiritual cult known as the Samaritan Foundation. Led by Linda Greene, this group was active in the 1990s, first in Guthrie, Oklahoma and later in Cheyenne, Wyoming. George’s mother became engrossed in Samaritan Foundation doctrines and in 1993 took her two children from their home in Somerville, Massachusetts to join the group in a commune formed in an abandoned prison in Guthrie, known locally as the Black Jail. The videos assemble newspaper clippings and screen captures of Google Street View along with voice-over narrations recounting journalistic reportage on the Samaritan Foundation and the artist’s own reflections. Delving into the group’s troubled history, George’s work reflects on how the individuals implicated in their community, by choice or by circumstance, were affected by a rippling wake of events that connect to, and exceed the artist’s own memories and experiences. For the List Center exhibition, George presents a new body of work continuing their inquiry into the Samaritan Foundation and related family histories.
Rami George (b. 1989, Somerville, MA) lives and works in Philadelphia. Their work has been presented in group exhibitions and screenings at Anthology Film Archives, New York; Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow; the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York; Grand Union, Birmingham; the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; LUX, London; the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; and others. George received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and their MFA from the University of Pennsylvania.
List Projects 21: Rami George is organized by Selby Nimrod, Assistant Curator, MIT List Visual Arts Center.
Exhibitions at the List Center are made possible with the support of Karen & Gregory Arenson, Fotene & Tom Coté, Audrey & James Foster, Idee German Schoenheimer, Joyce Linde, Cynthia & John Reed, and Sara-Ann & Robert Sanders. Additional support for List Projects 21: Rami George is provided by John Makhoul. Additional funding for List Projects is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
General operating support is provided by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the Council for the Arts at MIT; Philip S. Khoury, Associate Provost at MIT; the MIT School of Architecture + Planning; the Mass Cultural Council; and many generous individual donors. In-kind media sponsorship provided by 90.9 WBUR. The Advisory Committee Members of the List Visual Arts Center are gratefully acknowledged.
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