04 Jan 2018
Speaking Nearby, Rehana Zaman’s first solo exhibition in Scotland, brings together two of her recent films: Tell me the story Of all these things; Some Women, Other Women and all the Bittermen; and a new film Lourdes.
Tell me the story Of all of these things looks at the social conditioning that affects how we analyse bodies, identities and relationships. It brings together a staged cooking demonstration, a nebulous animated body, screenshots from Prevent’s e-learning website (the UK government’s ‘anti-radicalisation’ programme) and an intimate probing interview with the artist’s sister Farah. As Farah relates the roles she has performed throughout her life as mother, wife, worker, single woman, and skier – the narrative is interposed by a swaying and amorphous simulation of a female figure. Moving through a pixelated camouflage background the figure executes a series of banal and embodied movements – speaking on the phone, dancing and walking with a particular set of purposes. Exploring the social structures and performance of identity in modern society, the film also poses questions on the acceptable face, shape and body of a woman in culture.
Lourdes is a new work developed from a residency in Tepito, Mexico City, centring upon a discussion with a market trader called Lourdes. What begins as a stilted conversation with an off screen male interviewer slips into missed meanings and untranslatable detours. Lourdes’ dry and humorous responses elucidate her attendance to a ‘pleasure politics’ through her mastery of albures, Mexico’s coarse, cryptic and almost always sexual in nature, word play.
Some Women, Other Women and all the Bittermen is a six part soap opera set in the Tetley Brewery, which incorporates footage from meetings of Justice for Domestic Workers Leeds, who were founded in response to changes to UK immigration law in 2014. An amalgamation of fact and fiction, the soap opera script, informed by interviews with former employees of the Tetley Brewery, and the urgencies of the J4DW group sees Zaman explore the many contexts where working class identity is produced through issues of gender, class and race.
Zaman said; “The title for the exhibition takes up a phrase coined by filmmaker Trinh T Minh Ha that refers to an indirect way of speaking; a speaking that does not objectify or create distance, more so it is a speaking that reflects on itself and seeks intimacy with its subject without laying claim to it. All the works brought together in this show are encountered through the intricacies of not speaking about but speaking nearby“
Working largely with moving image, Zaman’s work speaks to the ways in which social expectations and identities are produced and performed. Often humorous in her use of tropes from cinema and television, and forms of documentary and soap opera, her works are generated through careful collaboration and discussion with groups and individuals. The resulting films take up the entanglement of personal experience and social life where intimacy is framed against the hostility of state legislation, surveillance and control.
CCA Curator Ainslie Roddick said: “We’re excited to work with Rehana at such an important time in her practice. The exhibition and event programme give us the opportunity to widen discussions and share knowledge around collectivity and multiplicity of voice – informing a new publication that will compile texts and thoughts from friends and collaborators.”
A publication will be created during the exhibition, alongside two events: Mixtape which sees Zaman and feminist campaigner Aditi Jaganathan share a collection of references, music, words and visuals on and around the representation of women of colour in TV and cinema; and a working group involving screenings, conversations and actions responding to the exhibition’s themes with Zaman and writer/curator Shama Khanna.
Zaman was one of the recipients of the Paul Hamlyn Awards for Artists in 2017.
Sat 10 February – Sun 25 March 2018
Tue-Sat: 11am-6pm // Sun: 12noon-6pm // Free // Preview: Fri 9 February, 7pm-9pm
Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3JD
Rehana Zaman & Aditi Jaganathan, Mixtape, Sun 18 Feb, 3pm
Working Group with Rehana Zaman & Shama Khanna, Sat 10 Mar, 11am-4pm