Hello all, here’s a video I’d really like to show everyone. I struggled a lot over the past 4 years about my role as an artist and what kind of impact I can possibly create with my work. Making of this video made me realise how my skills and resources can be used positively to give someone’s voice a platform to be heard. This will be shown in the exhibition at Central Saint Martins but I’m hoping to do a last push of publicity to encourage you all to come and join in my conversation zone to have a discussion about this.
Abdulhay and I met in May 2018 for a project in which we were both participants. On the first evening, we talked about war and violence and he shared with me his experiences. I thought about it for a few nights and offered:
“I have the filmmaking tools and skills, if there’s anything you’d like to say to the audience on British soil, let’s make a film.”
If he hadn’t told me he was from Syria I would not have known. In the making of the film I wanted to portray him in a way that was true and honest to how he presented himself to me. I wanted to show him as a person, with his own unique personality, character and love for his family, not that different from the rest of us.
In my subsequent research (many thanks to Mario Nicholas Hamad who’s doing a PHD on this war), I realised how severe the situation is and I am sad that this is all that I can do. Targeted military intervention is necessary to stop Assad’s airstrikes from killing more civilians. But for the British government to make that decision to get involved, public opinion is important. I hope this video provokes some thought and encourages more engagement in this issue.
Attempts on Attempts is based on Martin Crimp’s Attempts on her life. This adaptation was staged at Central Saint Martins, Studio Theatre 30 Nov – 1 Dec. The actors are staff working across the university and this piece, Kinda Funny which I designed and directed, featured Shaun, the face of student services office at Central Saint Martins. This piece is about misogyny, racism and arms ownership set in an American white trash living room. The TV plays violent football game footages which then switches to CNN mass shooting news reports.
“It’s been twenty years since Crimp wrote this play. What’s changed? Less shootings? Less racism? Less extremism?”
Immersive and interactive performance at Royal Albert Hall, Prince of Wales room
6 March 2017
“If all the paintings in this room were sold, people wouldn’t be homeless.”
A group of protestors infiltrated Royal Albert Hall and occupied the posh VIP room. Newspaper articles of various social and political issues like Trump’s muslim ban and infiltration plans scatter the floor. The audience are invited to engage in a meaningful conversation on socio-political issues they are passionate about.
“The citizens who don’t understand Islam – the ones who has a mentality like ISIS – cut off the neck of innocent soldiers. The news didn’t mention how these citizens behaved to innocent people. More than 300 people dies including police officers, soldiers and civilians in Istanbul.”
“It would be much easier to process and mourn if these motherfuckers didn’t honk and celebrate their fucking ‘victory’. 260 people dies and people are happy. Very good job beheading innocent privates who had no idea about the coup and didn’t fire a single round. I can’t believe this shit and I can’t sustain my frustration and anger. It’s not easy to get used to live with ISIS – mentality on a daily basis ffs.”
“These children are stressed, tired and incredibly vulnerable. They are trying every night to negotiate climbing onto lorries on the motorway. The whole point of the Alf Dubs amendment was about an immediate response not setting up a process. I can’t stand the idea that we will lose another child.”
“They sent me because my life was in danger. No one is safe in Afghanistan. There is not enough food now in Calais. We are hungry.”