Blitz welcomes artist-in-residence
ZAHRA AL-MAHDI, KUWAIT
RESIDENCY DATES: 27 May–23 June
PUBLIC TALK & DRINKS: 7 June, 7.00pm
PRESENTATION OF FINAL WORK: 21 June, 7.00pm, opening night + 22 June, 1.00–5.00pm, galleries open to the public
Entry is free for all events.
Blitz is pleased to announce Zahra Al-Mahdi as the next incoming resident for the 2018 Blitz Residency Programme. Now in its third year, the open call for the 2018 Blitz Residency Programme received a record number of applications from all over the globe, making the selection process exciting and challenging.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Zahra Al-Mahdi (1989) is an English Literature graduate from Kuwait University, College of Arts. She is a visual artist, writer, graphic novelist, and filmmaker with notable presence in the Kuwaiti creative community. Her debut graphic novel is titled We, The Borrowed. Zahra is currently working on a web miniseries titled Bird Watch, while also completing a Masters in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at Kuwait University.
ABOUT THE MALTA PROJECT
In Kuwait, memory is used as a tool to propagate a national collective narrative. With the advent of modernisation, Kuwait became a bureaucratic state. It came to rely on identitarian constructs that stratify society in terms of citizenship, gender, corporeality, sexual orientation, etc. These constructs engender divisive dichotomies: Kuwaiti/non-Kuwaiti, man/woman, original citizenry/naturalisation, masculine/feminine, and so on. As a result, entities in a state of mobility—which do not exclusively fall on either side of the dichotomy—become marginalised on social and institutional levels.
During her one month residency in Malta, Zahra will explore the role of memory in rethinking the national historical narrative of citizenry, gender roles and sexuality in Kuwait. As memory stems from an individual consciousness and a collective agency, it is a juncture between the private and the public; the personal and the political. The focus of her work will be on the counter-memories of mobile identities such as transsexual and transgender citizens, by forming points of connection with Maltese multicultural constructs. Her findings will take the form of video installation, a mobility map and models built from animation, sketches, found material, photographs, mixed media images, and other materials. Zahra also hopes to find parallel and intersecting points of connection between the Arab and Maltese cultures. Key to the project is the Arab-Euro fusion in Malta. As part of the Eurozone, Malta is an opulent case of multiculturalism with rich encounters with the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Sicilians, Spanish, French and the British. And with its history as a naval base and a trade harbour, identities in a constant state of mobility are incorporated into its institutions and cultural production. The aim is to create an installation that provides a platform where the personal memories of transgender and transsexual citizens might destabilise the national memory.