Collective is delighted to present saracen go home, a new exhibition from Glasgow based artist Sulaïman Majali developed as part of our Satellites Programme.
This sculptural installation draws on historical narratives around Collective’s site to explore diasporic states and incorporates a key new audio work.
saracen go home takes its title from racist graffiti that was sprayed on a mosque in Cumbernauld in 2016. Alongside ‘saracen go home’ the phrase ‘deus vult’ was scrawled, which is roughly translated as “God wills it”. This phrase has been re-appropriated from the video game Crusader Kings and used in racist memes shared on Internet forums such as Reddit and 4Chan.
For saracen go home, Collective’s Hillside exhibition space will be transformed into a set, resembling a waiting room, where the audience is placed on-stage. A series of sculptural objects address both their bodies and the absent body of the diasporic subject.
The space will be filled with a new sound work, at times delicate, and challenging, that unites fragments of field recordings, radio and broadcast material, newly-created digital sounds and a voice just at the edge of audible hearing.
The exhibition draws on the academic work of Gayatri Gopinath, who has explored diasporas and diasporic people through the work of visual artists. ‘Diaspora’ has traditionally referred to people displaced from the historic centres of their culture or families. But this is challenged by artist Leyya Mona Tawil ideas of a diasporic imaginary that prioritises identification over a necessarily shared place of origin. Gopinath also suggests that a diasporic position offers a way of seeing connections and stories that have been obscured in conventional histories of nations and nation-states.
Sulaïman places the diasporic body at the centre of saracen go home in an effort to trace new stories from Collective’s historic site, using the idea of ‘folding and creasing’ source material as both a conceptual technique and a poetic strategy. Collective’s City Observatory becomes the crease in one of Sulaïman’s poetic folds, bringing together a series of historical events that inform saracen go home. These events include David Roberts, a Scottish Royal Academician and Orientalist painter, visiting Jordan in 1839 where he produced lithographs of the ruined city of Petra. In the same year as Roberts’ visit, the former Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Thomas Henderson, published his measurements taken at the Cape of Good Hope of the distance from earth to Alpha Centauri, a star system which takes its traditional name Rigil Kentaurus from a Latinisation of the Arabic name الرجل القنطورس ar-Rijl al-Qanṭūris. The Cape of Good Hope was also where photographer David Gill captured an image of one of the great comets of the 19th Century, on the same day in 1882, the Scots Guards fought in the battle of Tel El Kebir in Egypt to secure British imperial trade routes through the Suez canal.
Open from 1 February – 29 March 2020. Join us for the free Preview 31 January, 7—9pm, all welcome.
Sulaïman Majali is an artist and writer. In 2020 Sulaïman is participating in both Satellites Programme and the Talbot Rice Gallery Residents programme, will participate in Glasgow International and has been short-listed for the Margaret Tait award. Group exhibitions and events include: something vague and irrational, with Ray Camara, Celine Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland (2019); assembly of the poets, a reading as part of EARTH HOLD, Qalandiya International Biennial (2018); Mene Mene Tekel Parsin, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, UK (2017); 8th Cairo Video Festival, Cairo, Egypt (2017); this scattering of minds; like seeds, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna/Transmission Gallery; as if we were strangers; that strangeness was ours, CCA Glasgow; Dark Speculative Futurity and the Rise of Neo-Nationalism (The Search for New Dimensions), Tohu Magazine conference, Jaffa, Palestine (2017).
Satellites Programme is Collective’s development programme for emergent artists and producers based in Scotland.