Sama Alshaibi

Alshaibi_video_still_Silsila2_WEB

Silsila

Silsila
 —
 Arabic
 for
 ‘chain’
 or
 ‘link’—
 is
 a
 site
 specific,
 video
 installation
 work
 that
 depicts
 Alshaibi’s
 three‐year
 cyclic
 journey
 through
 the
 significant
 deserts
 and
 endangered
 water
 sources
 of
 the
 Middle 
East 
and 
North 
African 
region 
and 
across 
to 
the 
bountiful 
waters 
of the 
Maldives.
 By
 linking
 the
 performances 
in 
the 
deserts 
and 
waters 
of 
the 
historical 
Islamic 
world 
with 
the 
nomadic 
traditions 
of
 the
 region,
 and
 the
 travel
 journals
 of
 the
 great
 14th
 century
 Eastern
 explorer,
 Ibn
 Battuta,
 Alshaibi
 seeks
 to
 unearth
 a
 story
 of
 continuity
 within
 the
 context
 of
 a
 threatened
 future.
 Silsila
 takes
 its
 inspiration
 from
 the
 Sufi
 poet
 Assadi
 Ali,
 who
 began
 each
 line
 of
 his
 poems,
 “I,
 the
 Desert”.
 An
 excerpt 
from
 that 
poem 
calls 
for 
us 
to 
recognize 
our 
common 
identity: 
“the 
grains 
of 
my 
sand 
rush 
in
 asking
 /
 begging
 You
 [Allah]
 to
 keep
 my
 descendents
 /
 and
 nation
 united”.
 Silsila
 is
 a
 story
 of
 a
 shared
 history
 and
 soon
 to
 be
 written
 future
 —
 the
 tales
 of
 the
 climate
 refugee
 and
 its
 geographic
 voice,
 and
 our
 search
 for
 connection
 with
 each
 other
 as
 interdependent
 peoples
 and
 nations
 plagued 
by 
an 
unthinkable 
future.

Courtesy
 of
 Ayyam 
Gallery
Music composed by Grey Filastine,
featuring Brent Arnold (cello) and Abdel Hak (violin)

Silsila (Chain). Excerpts of five videos, installation wood keel and sound.

Alshaibi_Essay_Web
Alshaibi’s Silsila: Invoking Routes Across Sand and Sea
Essay by M. Neelika Jayawardane (click the image to read it)

Sama Alshaibi’s multi-media artwork negotiates spaces of conflict: the aftermath of war/exile and the dynamics between humans competing for resources and power. Recent solos include vs. Him at Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai and Zero Sum Game at Selma Feriani Gallery, London. Exhibitions and screenings include Institut Du Monde Arabe (Paris), the Bronx Museum (NYC), Mapping Subjectivity, MoMA (NYC), and upcoming Fotofest Biennale (Houston). Alshaibi is an Associate Professor of Photography/Video Art at University of Arizona, USA.
www.samaalshaibi.com