In the shade of the sun at The Mosaic Rooms contemplates the relationship between politics and aesthetics by an exciting new generation of Palestinian artists. The exhibition comprises new commissions by artists Mona Benyamin, Xaytun Ennasr and Dina Mimi as well as a new sonic performance commission by Makimakkuk.
Moving between mediums that include film, installation, music and gaming, In the shade of the sun brings together artists that are forging a new language to think about and with Palestine. Their individual practices intertwined through soft expressions and radical politics, from the absurd to the poetic, as they make work for future times within the crisis of the present.
Tomorrow Again, by Mona Benyamin stages a dysfunctional broadcast that consists of different segments which recreate and react to various prominent daily catastrophes from Palestine. Instead of spoken narrative, the film resorts to exaggerated emotional and physical displays.
It utilises fragmented and often conflicting testimonies, doppelgängers, and a surrealist visual language to draw on notions of truth and fiction, and differing temporalities. The cast of the film sees two protagonists, the artist’s parents, assume multiple identities spectators, as they narrate and consume their own stories in an endless cycle.
In their multimedia installation, Revolution is a forest that the colonist can’t burn, Xaytun Ennasr celebrates trees as symbols of resistance and devotion. Through the artist’s aesthetic of radical softness, the installation examines what a revolutionary relationship with nature looks like. Trees are situated not as resources waiting to be extracted but as beings that are loved and that love back. That relationship is presented through a variety of media, including drawings, poetry, ceramics, textiles, living olive and fig trees, and an interactive digital game.
Dina Mimi’s project The melancholy of this useless afternoon unfolds through two chapters reflecting on the role of the fugitive and the smuggler. Chapter I layers images of birdsong competitions, revolutionary songs from Oman, Yemen and Palestine with a narrative contemplating movement, loss, separation, and revolutionary practice. Chapter II employs a clandestine style to document the practice of bird smuggling and the part the human body plays in this act. These are accompanied by a framed vest with an organic material resembling what the birds are traditionally hidden within.
Makimakkuk will debut a newly commissioned sound work titled What remains in the museum. This multi-layered work will sonically reflect on identity, colonisation, love, and relationships. It will be performed singularly live in the exhibition during a special event, the date will be announced shortly.*
This group of artists is brought together by Bilna’es (in the negative), an adisciplinary platform that seeks to find new models for artists to redistribute resources and support one another in the production and circulation of work. Functioning as an interdisciplinary publishing space with releases ranging from music to video games Bilna’es was initiated by Ruanne Abou-Rahme & Basel Abbas, Muqata’a, and other anonymous figures as a way to support artistic communities in Palestine and beyond. The exhibition is curated by The Mosaic Rooms in conversation with Bilna’es.
Independent researcher and curator Adam Haj Yahya has been specially invited by Bilnae’s to co-curate the exhibition’s accompanying public programme. Haitham Haddad of Studio Mnjnk has designed the exhibition poster and visual identity.
This exhibition forms part of The Mosaic Rooms 2023 programme, which seeks to interrogate questions of active solidarity; to consider how we can continue to collaborate, host, and create sustainable support networks that enable critical and creative artistic practices.
The exhibition is generously supported by Arts Council England, Bagri Foundation and Henry Moore Foundation.
Press release from The Mosaic Rooms
*Update: On 4 October 2023, The Mosaic Rooms announced that Makimakkuk had been denied a visa to the UK, meaning her tour and the London date at The Mosaic Rooms were cancelled.