Everybody Knows This is Nowhere: The Videos of Basma Alsharif
Friday, November 15th 2013
Club SAW, 67 Nicholas Street, Ottawa
Screening 9pm / After Party 11pm - 2am
Everybody Knows This is Nowhere is a retrospective of the videos of acclaimed Palestinian artist Basma Alsharif. Her sensitive and thought-provoking works come out of the current geopolitical landscape of the Middle East, but the issues she explores are universal. With captivating visuals and an awareness of both the power and the ambiguity of language, Alsharif’s videos take a personal look at complex relationships with ideas of home and self-identity.
Alsharif investigates the link between identity and geographical space as it exists in the collective imagination and questions the allure of nostalgic, idealized images of landscape and the past. She depicts contemporary Palestine as a place where metaphysical space and time are as unstable as the country’s ever-changing geographical borders, and where the trauma of living under constant threat produces a feeling of disconnection from the ‘real.’ The artist will be present to introduce and discuss her work.
Presented as part of Galerie SAW Gallery’s Art Star Video Art Biennial V. In conjunction with the screening, SAW Video will also present DOPPELGANGING, a special masterclass with Basma Alsharif, in Club SAW on Saturday November 16th.
Funded by the Canada Council Visiting Foreign Artists Program
- Farther than the eye can see (2012, 13 min., Jordan/United Arab Emirates, in Arabic with subtitles, DV video)
- We Began by Measuring Distance (2009, 19 min., Egypt, in Arabic with subtitles, DV video)
- The Story of Milk and Honey (2011, 10 min., Lebanon, in Arabic with subtitles, DV video)
- Home Movies Gaza (2013, 24 min., Palestine/France, HD video)
Farther than the eye can see (2012, 13 min., Jordan/United Arab Emirates, in Arabic with subtitles, DV video)
A woman recounts her story of the mass exodus of Palestinians from Jerusalem. Beginning with the arrival and ending with the departure, the tale moves backwards in time and through various landscapes. The events are neither undone nor is the story untold; instead, Farther than the eye can see traces a decaying experience to a place that no longer exists.
We Began by Measuring Distance (2009, 19 min., Egypt, in Arabic with subtitles, DV video)
Long still frames, text, language, and sound are weaved together to unfold the narrative of an anonymous group who fill their time by measuring distance. Innocent measurements transition into political ones, examining how image and sound communicate history. We Began by Measuring Distance explores an ultimate disenchantment with facts when the visual fails to communicate the tragic.
The Story of Milk and Honey (2011, 10 min., Lebanon, in Arabic with subtitles, DV video)
The Story of Milk and Honey is a short experimental video belonging to a larger project, which includes photographs, drawings and text, detailing an un-named individual’s failure to write a love story. Through voiceover narration that weaves together images, letters, and songs, a story of defeat transpires into a journey that explores how we collect and perceive information, understand facts, history, images, and sound and where the individual is to be found in the midst of the material.
Home Movies Gaza (2013, 24 min., in Arabic with subtitles, HD video)
Home Movies Gaza introduces us to the Gaza Strip as a microcosm for the failure of civilization. In an attempt to describe the everyday of a place that struggles for the most basic of human rights, this video claims a perspective from within the domestic spaces of a territory that is complicated, derelict, and altogether impossible to separate from its political identity.
Basma Alsharif (b. 1983, Kuwait) is a visual artist using moving and still images, sound and language to explore the anonymous individual in relation to political history and collective memory. She received an MFA from the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois, Chicago in 2007 and has been working in Cairo, Beirut, and Amman since then. Her work has shown in exhibitions and film festivals internationally including the 17th SESC Videobrasil, Forum Expanded: Berlinale, Images Festival, where she received the Marion McMahon Award, Manifesta 8 The Region of Murcia, The Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, The 9th Edition of the Sharjah Bienniale where she received a jury prize for her work, the Toronto International Film Festival, and she was awarded the Fundación Marcelino Botín Visual Arts Grant in 2009-2010.