The exhibition in Hamburg as well as her previous artistic practice deals with migration and takes a decidedly migrant perspective. The series of works on the writer and poet Semra Ertan, Bilir-Meier's aunt, deals with Ertan's life and death. Born in Turkey in 1956, Ertan moved to her parents in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1972. In 1982, Semra Ertan burned herself in Hamburg as a sign against racism in Germany itself. Bilir-Meier took up this personal family history very carefully and worked it up in order to locate Ertan's experiences as part of a collective memory and history. A further aspect of Bilir-Meier's artistic work is the confrontation with institutional and everyday racism in the German media and how other subversive images and narratives can be set against it. One work on this subject is concerned with issues of the NSU. Another work deals with the transformation of knowledge and experience in public and private spaces that were developed by the artist during a photographic city research in Istanbul. The exhibition will be accompanied by a comprehensive supporting program that will integrate various anti-racist initiatives and institutions of the City of Hamburg and address the Society of the Many. The exhibition will be accompanied by the artist's first monograph.
Cana Bilir-Meier studied at the Academy of Fine Arts and the School Friedel Kubelka in Vienna as well as the Sabancı University in Istanbul. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally; at the Tensta Konsthall in Stockholm, the Kunsthalle Wien, at the Public Art Munich Festival in Munich, at the Public Program of the documenta 14 in Kassel, at the Ankara International Film Festival and many other venues. In 2018, she was the winner of the ars viva prize, awarded by the Association of Arts and Culture of the German Economy and in 2016 Bilir-Meier was awarded the Birgit Jurgenssen Prize among other awards and scholarships.