Lead Time: Rana Nazzal Hamadeh
AGYU is pleased to announce Rana Nazzal Hamadeh’s participation in Lead Time, our ongoing mentorship program, from November 16 to December 14, 2021. We use this opportunity to continue to support Nazzal Hamadeh’s critical and political work that explores the colonization of place across time and mediums. She will be mentored by celebrated and poetic artist and film-maker Larissa Sansour. As part of the Lead Time program, Nazzal Hamadeh will also participate in studio visits with curators and artists Amin Alsaden and Taysir Batniji.
Nazzal Hamadeh is an emerging artist whose work and actions address the disproportionate power structures of settler colonial states. She astutely describes the importance of her voice as a Palestinian artist as follows: “those of us facing our own struggles and feeling stripped of agency, we can forget that we are also agents of change who can act in solidarity with other peoples. I think growing that is really important because it not only offers our solidarity with other peoples, it reminds us we are not just victims.”
We are thrilled to initiate this mentorship between Nazzal Hamadeh and Sansour. Both artists work against the systemic eradication of Palestinian cultural history and identity, capturing and re-narrating the forgotten stories of Palestine. Nazzal Hamadeh does so using a documentarian’s lens, Sansour through a fantastical blurring between the edges of fiction within the reality of consequences. Using a nostalgic logic, they both alternately take the roles of archivist and archeologist, preserving evidence of land and nationhood for the future while also mapping what is left from present Palestine. Their works astutely scrutinize the state of oblivion that colonialism had long enforced and still impose on Palestinians and their land. They expressively ground subjects of identity, displacement, subjugation, and erasure into the material of land and soil. We imagine a strong dialogue between these distinct voices and are pleased to connect them through Lead Time.
AGYU first engaged Nazzal Hamadeh through our Community Resource Program, which we designed to support artists who are active in social justice activism, and we are thrilled to be working with Nazzal Hamadeh again through Lead Time, a program designed to facilitate independent research, offer resources, and build long-term relationships. Our Assistant Curator, Fatma Yehia, will be working most directly with Nazzal Hamadeh in this sixth iteration of Lead Time.*
Rana Nazzal Hamadeh is a Palestinian-Canadian artist immersed in community organizing around issues of Indigenous self-determination, prison abolition, climate justice, and more, both across Turtle Island and in occupied Palestine. Her photography, film, and installation works look at the complexity of decolonial disruptions, combining storytelling with critical analysis to draw links between lived experience and systems of power. Rana holds an MFA in Documentary Media from Ryerson University and is currently based in Palestine, working with prisoner justice groups and conducting research for future projects.
Larissa Sansour was born in Jerusalem and grew up in Bethlehem in Palestine. She works mainly with film, but also produces installations, photos, and sculptures. Central to her work is the dialectics between myth and historical narrative. Her recent work uses science fiction to address social and political issues, dealing with memory, inherited traumas, power structures, and nation states. In 2020, Sansour was the shared recipient of the Jarman Award. Her work is shown in film festivals and museums worldwide, including the Tate Modern, MoMA, Centre Pompidou, and the Istanbul Biennial. In 2019, Sansour represented Denmark at the 58th Venice Biennale. Her most recent solo shows include Copenhagen Contemporary in Denmark, EMST in Greece, and Bildmuseet in Sweden. She lives and works in London in the UK.
Amin Alsaden is a curator, scholar, and educator whose work focuses on transnational exchanges of ideas and expertise across cultural boundaries. His curatorial practice is committed to advancing social justice through the arts and to the dissemination of inclusive narratives that expand existing canons and challenge hegemonic knowledge and power structures.
Taysir Batniji was born in Gaza in 1966 and studied art at Al-Najah University in Nablus, Palestine. Batniji’s artwork, often tinged with impermanence and fragility, draw its inspiration from his subjective story but also from current events and history. His methods of approach always distance, divert, stretch, conceptualize, or simply play with the initial subject, offering, in the end, a poetic, sometimes acrid, point of view on reality.
The Lead Time program was initiated in 2020 with the intention of offering artists financial and pedagogical support in the midst of a global pandemic without asking for specified outcomes. This program is a process of art-making and thinking, not focused on predetermined outcomes. We envision it as generative and open, taking a process-driven approach and building long-term working relationships between artists. Lead Time is a framework that is live, adaptable, and research-based, initially with the intention of activating a latent period for the AGYU while our doors were closed to the public, supporting and privileging the moments between the initiation of an idea and its resolution. Recognising the strengths of the program, we continue our commitment to supporting artists without fixed outcomes.
We would like to give special thanks to the Rana Nazzal Hamadeh and Larissa Sansour for participating in this program and offer our gratitude to Amin Alsaden and Taysir Batniji for their critical engagements.
Image: Rana Nazzal Hamadeh, 1/1000th of a Dunam (installation view), 2021. Photo: James Morley, courtesy Ryerson Image Centre.