26th November - 15th December 2022
In the green escape of my palace
Alia Hamaoui, Hawazin Alotaibi, Shamiran Istifan, Zein Majali
You have now reached a resting point in your quest for the paradise garden.
Understanding the garden in its metaphorical sense as well as literal, the exhibiting artists are united in their use of discourse surrounding technology, globalisation, womanhood and future histories as tools for heterotopian world building.
In Alia Hamaoui’s works, the fictional heterotopic panoptic garden is heavily influenced by the myriad mediations of the Islamic gardens through the years, from the original Chandigarh formations, to how it has been translated into textiles and video games. Taste the Air change acts as an aroma induced check-in point that, through its smell, tactility, and visual language, acts as a sensory entry point to the garden world. seeks hints at this panoptic garden world.
Sweet will Dissolve to Heat and the sound piece Steered towards the panoptic garden, composed by Dorian Tran, are based upon an oral ruttier. The piece combines the words of poet Omar Hamaoui, in which he imagines himself journeying to this fictional panoptic garden, sung in the style of the Lebanese folk song/poetry style of Zajal, with field recordings from the immediate Deptford environment. The piece therefore leads the viewer through and from Deptford, into the panoptic garden.
Hawazin Alotaibi’s paintings examine the notions of gender, masculinity, and self-representation on social media of the ever-changing cultural and political dynamics in Gulf countries. She explores those themes through her experimentation with motion glitches and distortions of her paintings, photographs taken, or collected photographs from social media platforms and gender portrayal imagery from encountered cultural and religious books. Through this gathering of contemporary archival material, Alotaibi begins to build her own heterotopian landscape that sits between a moment of reality and fiction.
Zein Majali’s installation centres around the consequences of being terminally online. Inspired by the work of Dutch furniture designer Gerrit Rietveld, the chair forces you to look; to digest content. Set within the context of the collapse of war, sex and selfies, i love it when the images : the images wash over me seeks god in the network, straddling the line between divinity and depravity. The garden appears here as the network itself, a place in which we are continuously searching for an unreachable perfection.
The historical region held between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and one broad leg of the Fertile Crescent, has long provided a fruitful base for a lush biodiversity and enduring, abundant civilization. The fertile curves of this basin have been shaped by the flow of powerful waters that have replenished its rich soils and birthed its flowering. In her new installation Between Two Rivers I, II, III, Shamiran Istifan explores this territory and its relationship to the shaping of womanhood in the region. Might the life-giving powers of the twinned rivers that embrace this territory themselves run dry in the face of far-off alien appetites and the vanity of those who call themselves History?
'In the green escape of my palace' is situated within the widening crevice of tension between tradition and hyper-modernisation, fragmented memories and digitised futures. That perfect insta post; that impossibly turquoise sea in the perfume advert. What lies ahead in your garden?