notes from a meeting, artists on the frontier; resident or nomad? [day two pt2]

Sejla Kameric 1395 Days on the Frontier Photo G Mannes-Abbott

CLICK on image to link to SAF & more images or read on below …

 

Sama Alshaibi moderated a panel on Artists as Nomads, describing herself as the least “nomadic artist on the panel, relatively speaking,” secure in a US Professorship. Basma Alsharif, a Palestinian who “can’t really base myself in Palestine” settled in Egypt before “moving based on projects”, a process that has now been formalised through International residencies. “So then my life became a residency” with obvious costs and which have rendered her almost homeless at times -all of which she was quick to qualify too.

Ziad Antar fizzed on stage, to the audience’s amusement, relaying a similar tale of struggling to “create a point of view” in the churn; “when you live nowhere” there is a price to pay. Sejla Kameric introduced a note of caution by asking “is it a life we choose or is it by necessity… there’s a fine balance between a need and a choice.” She said she had also moved a lot on what can appear to be a circuit, but increasingly found she needed a strong working base at home in Sarajevo. [I’ll return to the screening of her version of the 1395 Days Without Red film in Bait al Shamsi later in the evening when I post a substantial interview soon; see Appendix 1 Sejla Kameric & I Go East [to Kalba]. Continue reading “notes from a meeting, artists on the frontier; resident or nomad? [day two pt2]”

notes from a meeting – on the small matter of everything [day one pt 1]

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SAF March Meeting 2012 Photo G Mannes-Abbott

CLICK image to link to SAF & more images or read on below…

Salah Hassan, venerable Cornell Professor, followed the UAE’s Minister of Culture in delivering a keynote speech. He began with an apology in Arabic; “as an African Arab” who has been “living in the Frank’s territories for a long time” and familiar with a certain “morphology of fear … please allow me to speak in English.”

I like a barb like that and it makes a point, excepting that we are in Sharjah where the simultaneous translation is excellent and I’d anticipated relying on it myself in 2012. A cusp, especially on a global scale, is always hard to identify [!] but I would suggest this might be an anxiety from before the cusp that, it seems to me, we all occupy. Not easily, not fully, not formally but actually… Continue reading “notes from a meeting – on the small matter of everything [day one pt 1]”

on hosni, why change always involves force…

I’ll keep it brief, but isn’t it nice to see Hosni!

It seems so long now and I for one have been missing him. Of course his ‘former’ colleagues remain largely in place and there’s a long way to go to even begin to consolidate the revolution. But the break with the past is good, the rest we know will take blood, resolve and time…

Of course, the regime has been pushed to get this far, almost week by week, and that will go on until real change is achieved. Change only ever happens like this. When someone tells you that shouting, anger, protest, rebellion even defensive or strategic acts of violence never gets anyone anywhere, as autocrats large and small always waste their breath saying, well; laugh in their faces and press on…

I’m sure Fruit Store regulars know from your own experience that tired, jaded, reactionary, conservative, No-sayers always only ever respond to force -or anyway forcefulness- however boring it is to have to resort to it. In that respect there are continuities between Tahrir’s very expensively acquired and yet only partial freedoms and much less dramatic ones closer to home -and yes, I’m writing as an urbanforester  when I make that point [not that the extrapolation necessarily works the other way around, of course].

Anyway, hooray-hello-Hosni; lets see much more of you and yours in future and work painstakingly through your crimes to ensure that justice is seen to be done and change is institutionalised.

Meanwhile, check the current issue of Bidoun and it’s programme of summery Seminars at the Serpentine here.

on surface and underscoring, parastou forouhar @ leighton house review in bidoun

I have a short review of Parastou Forouhar’s recent exhibition at the Leighton House Museum, London in the new issue of Bidoun #23, Squares, whose contents are here. As ever; rush out and do yourself a favour! Or subscribe; you know you want to!

I haven’t seen the issue yet [19.01.11 Have now; looks good!], am curious to see how it’s been illustrated [see exhibition link above] and still finding my way with these short art reviews; the kind of exploration I remember from writing critically about books and with which I felt I made a break through in writing about a John Barth novel with similarly few words in late 1991 [and that evening/night helped a friend complete -well, did- a piece of work that quite quickly became art historical. Busy day! -and a small part of my next big writing project].

There is an art to writing short as well as writing to context that I’ve not mastered with visual art [much happier with essay length!] but I learnt something valuable from this attempt. I believe in doing it, most definitely, and was very gratified to be invited to write on PF or at all. I’ll try to explain myself. Continue reading “on surface and underscoring, parastou forouhar @ leighton house review in bidoun”

future movements jerusalem, startlingly good review on babelmed

Shuruq Harb Wiki City 2010

“The highlight of this year’s Liverpool Biennial is the art from Palestine on show in Future Movements Jerusalem. It’s art made against the forcings of Occupation, about a city currently forbidden to most of the artists in the show.”

My piece about this excellent show has just been published here on Babelmed, a really admirable and completely independent ‘Mediterranean culture site’ based in Rome, which appears in English, Italian, French and Arabic editions.

Continue reading “future movements jerusalem, startlingly good review on babelmed”