‘There’s no place like Home!’ With three clicks of the heels of her magic red slippers, Dorothy utters the immortal words of a spell that would transport her back to Kansas after her phantasmagoric displacement to Oz in the Hollywood classic The Wizard of Oz. This celebrated sequence expresses the universal longing for home of the displaced person. But for millions of refugees and migrants around the globe, Dorothy’s fantastical gesture, rendered in glorious technicolour film, remains just a dream or more often than not, a recurring nightmare. This selection of films by artists Alia Syed (Fatima’s Letter 1992), David Hammons (Phat Free 1995) and The Otolith Group (Nervus Rerum 2008) curated by Paul Goodwin, interrogates the liminal spaces, between fiction and reality, of the longing for home of the displaced person in Whitechapel, London; Harlem, New York and Jenin Refugee Camp, Palestine. The screenings will be followed by a discussion between Paul Goodwin and Almir Koldzic, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Counterpoints Arts.
Alia Syed was born in Swansea, Wales and lives and works in London, UK. She has been working in experimental filmmaking for over two decades. Syed’s films have been shown at numerous institutions around the world including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)(2012); Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York (2010); Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain (2009); XV Sydney Biennale in Sydney, Australia (2006); British Art Show 6, Hayward Gallery, London, UK (2005); Tate Britain, London (2003).
Working with the detritus of African American life, David Hammons addresses black history, African culture, racism, and poverty with a compassion and complexity unrivaled in contemporary practice. With cunning wordplay and biting sarcasm, he transforms found objects often culled from the streets of New York—these include basketball hoops, chicken wings, dirt, and dreadlock clippings—into powerful symbols that challenge stereotypes and confront issues of race.
The Otolith Group
The Otolith Group is an artist collective founded by Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun in 2002 that integrates art practice with a distinctive public platform: The Otolith Collective coexists by curating, programming, publishing and supporting the production of artists work, contributing to a critical field of exploration between theory, practice and exhibiting in contemporary art.
Paul Goodwin is an independent curator, lecturer and urban theorist based in London. Paul’s curatorial and research interests span the fields of art and migration, urbanism and critical curation. From 2008-2012 he was curator of Tate Britain’s Cross Cultural Programme, a multi-disciplinary platform exploring the impact of migration and globalisation on contemporary art in Britain. He has curated and co-curated a number of internationally significant exhibitions including: Migrations: Journeys Into British Art, Tate Britain 2012; Thin Black Line(s), Tate Britain, 2011; Go Tell It On The Mountain: Towards A New Monumentalism, 2011 and Ways of Seeing, 2012, 3-D Foundation Sculpture Park in Verbier, Switzerland. He is Associate Lecturer, MA Curating at Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London.
Almir Koldzic is a Co-Founder and Co-Director of Counterpoints Arts - a recently established hub of arts and cultural projects that explore refugee and migrant experiences. Almir oversees the artistic direction of the Celebrating Sanctuary Festival in London and the development of Platforma – a national project for networking groups and individuals interested in the arts by and about refugees. Since 2005, Almir has worked on developing creative strategies for making refugee and migrants’ contributions become a more recognised and welcomed aspect of the British history and culture. His interventions include initiating and directing events and exhibitions (including the recent Counterpoint programme); developing a national strategy and identity for Refugee Week UK and the Simple Acts participatory programme.