Reimagining spaces and restoring lost histories


Thursday, 19th May 2022  |  18:30 - 20:00




Join three artists from the exhibition: 'Kalila wa Dimna: Ancient Tales from Troubled Times' in discussion: Rayan Elnayal, Jean Morris, and Vaishali Prazmari. Reflecting on their own heritages and research based collective processes, Rayan, Jean and Vaishali will explore the ways in which their artistic and writing practices seek to restore 'lost' voices, languages and histories and to reimagine mobile spaces and places, at the boundaries of diverse cultures. They will also discuss their responses to the fables in Kalila wa Dimna and their approach to the themes raised by the exhibition.


In diverse creative practices (hand painted, digitally designed, textual), Rayan, Jean and Vaishali pose important questions: How do we investigate personal and global histories despite the absence of language, primary source material and/or myopic points of view? How do we translate the past so that it's relevant to sociopolitical and cultural issues of the present?


Rayan’s work blends her expertise in architecture with magical realism to visualise and speculate on fictional spaces. She is interested in how magic realist techniques can aid in the production of ethnocentric futurisms in Sudan, the SWANA (the South-west Asian/North African) region and its diaspora. Her interest in magic realism and the idea of ‘Afrabia’ initially started as part of her architecture thesis project at the University of Greenwich and remains an on-going project.


Jean is interested in utilizing creative methodologies that complement scholarly research. These methods include the lyrical, the palimpsest and the collage; using old stories to make new ones that are timely, pertinent and can touch contemporary audiences. Focusing on the mouse's narrative, Jean's approach to the Kalila wa Dimna fables creates a panel of poems in which the mouse's words ‘migrate’ into different environments and timescapes. In this way the mouse's story gives fresh insight into the predicament of forced migration.


Vaishali’s work is characterised by multilingual fluency across different painting traditions, working with the nested tale format and the art of interruption and reinterpreting historical texts in an act of translation across visual languages. She incorporates elements from a variety of cultures, including her own Chinese, Indian and Persian heritage into vivid and detailed pieces, many of which take the form of miniature oil paintings that bring together eastern and western practices.


The talk will be chaired by curators Rania Mneimneh and Ghazaleh Zogheib.


Details for how to attend the talk online via Zoom will be sent upon booking.