Permanent Transience | online exhibition


Exhibition Dates: 17 September - 10 October 2020




Curator: Mishelle Brito

Artist: Jumanah Bawazir


What is a permanent transient space? 

A holding place.

What does it hold?

What does it contain?

A soul in limbo

A soul balancing on the line of time

With strings attached to what was

What is

And what will be

It holds interwoven stories creating a tapestry of a trapped identity

How do we intervene within the walls that define a space that muffle the choir of lost voices

Lift the veil of this space within the non-place

Where no place is our space

ما هو المكان الدائم العابر؟

مكان إيواء أو حجز.

ماذا يحجز؟

علام يحتوي؟

روح في طي النسيان

روح تتأرجح على خط الزمن

معلقة بالماضي والحاضر والمستقبل

مكان فيه قصص متشابكة تشكل نسيجاً لهوية محجوزة

كيف نصل إلى الأصوات المكبوتة داخل أسوار المساحة المحددة

ارفع الحجاب عن هذه المساحة داخل اللا مكان

حيث لا مكان مكاننا



Permanent Transience is an architectural tool for the communication of narratives on hold. The exhibition’s intervention focuses on the limbo period after fleeing a country and before resettlement. 


European surveillance systems have prolonged the limbo periods between fleeing a country, and resettlement. As a consequence, “holding places” (with all their different typologies), have become the spaces containing lost and untold narratives that need to be nurtured, expressed, then exposed.


The structure and materiality of a “holding place” is not of question within this project - rather the exhibition focuses on the space of limbo in between home and the unknown, and what these holding places hold: the individual and their experiences.  


For this project, artist Jumanah Bawazir worked with Somali women looking at the various holding places they had been occupying. “In the context of Somali women on their journeys to Europe, how do we create a process deployed in these transient moments, that builds a tool that communicates their narratives?”. Through conducting interviews, virtually reconstructing experiences, and using poetry together with the interviewees, the project aims to empower and humanize the interviewees whilst functioning as a holding to account to governments operating under the European surveillance systems that are inevitably controlling their journeys.

The film, ‘Permanent Transience’ - Narratives on Hold,’ focuses on one Somali woman’s specific journey illustrating how her narrative is one of 3.3 million in a state of limbo, addressing the government surveillance systems that have perpetuated these limbo periods, holding these power structures accountable while also providing a platform for participants to reappropriate and take control of their own narratives. 


About the Artist

Jumanah Bawazir is a multidisciplinary designer of mixed heritage studying at the Architectural Association. Her practice weaves together architecture, film and poetry in such a way as to confront systemic injustices around class, race and gender and their effects on BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) narratives. 


Jumanah’s work creates a bridge between “us and them” by providing a contemporary platform for marginalized backgrounds and identities to share their own accounts. Currently, her focus is on a long-term project that aims to project these narratives and challenge the architect’s role in generating change.


About React

reACT is an innovative program, established by P21 Gallery & Amal (a Saïd Foundation programme) to promote and support emerging and student artists whose work is dedicated to or inspired by the Middle East & Arab world by providing a space within the P21 Gallery for an artistic intervention. reACT aims to contribute in building and strengthening cultural ties and dialogues between the East and West on terms designed by a younger generation.



Mishelle Brito is a London based artistic programmer and curator working to create dialogues relating to societal concerns in the Middle East through art, culture and creative based methods


P21 Gallery

P21 is an independent London-based charitable trust established to promote contemporary Middle Eastern and Arab art and culture.  


Press information

For further information, press images and interview opportunities, please contact reACT Programme Manager & Curator, Mishelle Brito at:



The exhibition is supported by the Art Council England and HUB Collective.



Q&A with artist Jumanah Bawazir
Q&A with artist Jumanah Bawazir