P21 Gallery’s reACT programme presents: ‘Unnarrated,’ an installation using fragmented moving image, reflection and performance to dismantle western notions of knowing in relation to feminine spirituality in North Africa
Unnarrated is an installation by the ElZi Collective which uses fragmented moving image, reflection and performance to dismantle western notions of knowing in relation to feminine spirituality in North Africa. Unnarrated explores oral histories and notions deconstructing what is beyond language and communication within the context of North African cultures.
For this exhibition, ElZi Collective researched spirituality and mysticism in relation to the influence of Islam in North Africa, particularly feminine spirituality. These practices or, sometimes even rituals, represent a strand of knowledge that has not been authentically documented in history books yet rather passed on orally through generations, which, at times, destabilised the continuity of the narrative. The artists are particularly interested in the notion of ‘external inaccessibility of knowledge’, inaccessibility that has not been defined by the Western template of knowledge, one that was shaped through post-colonial, collective social knowledge. This artistic interest subsequently scrutinises the diasporic approach to understanding one’s identity while preserving the cultural continuum.
Exposing the different layers of collective knowledge and its authentic interpretations. Unnarrated aims to widen the understanding/perceptions of communication beyond Western ideologies. while also initiating the space of redefining religion through studying its social performance and perceptions within the North African context.
About the Artists
ElZi Collective is an artistic duo that dances between the binaries of art, performance and activism to create interdisciplinary work to respond to and challenge the world around them. The collective is a collaboration between Jessica El Mal and Youcef Hadjazi, an English- Moroccan and Algerian duo whose work together has been exhibited at Left Bank Leeds and supported by The Whitworth Manchester. Individually, their projects span a multi tude of areas.
Based in Manchester, El Mal uses digital techniques, aesthetics and interaction to address global structures of power through critical research, multidisciplinary projects, and speculative future imaginaries. Often centred around collaboration, co-curation and workshops. She runs an art and nature group for migrant artists called ‘This Garden Group’ which includes workshops in a range of natural spaces, a peer support group sending good morning memes to each other and a public-facing program. Jessica’s most recent exhibition Grounds for Concern exhibited at MAMA Rotterdam, challenging the authority of man-made borders through a digital installation and workshops, as well as a digital commission by FACT Liverpool existing online at www. visionsofafuture.com.
Predominantly based in London, Hadjazi is a queer creative practitioner whose artistic practice spans across lens-based media and performance while exploring multidisciplinary possibilities. His work tends to explore and, therefore, deconstruct the different interpreta tions of societal notions within the context of the Diasporic and queer identities, while pro pelling the perception of social behaviour as a colonial product.
Hadjazi is currently working in collaborating with SomoS Art House in Berlin on a photographic performance project that aims to capture the performed narrative of the living experiences among non-cis individuals. Similarly, his recent project with Journeys and Homotopia Festivals initiated the space for queer migrants to illustrate their journeys as queer individuals through a collaborative zine. Prior to that, his commission with Manchester International Festival explored the assimilation of transgenerational trauma in post-colonial nations, focusing on the Algerian Civil War in the 1990s.
Mishelle Brito is a London based artistic programmer and curator working to create dialogues relating to societal concerns in the Middle East through art, culture and creative based methods.
P21 is an independent London-based charitable trust established to promote contemporary Middle Eastern and Arab art and culture.
Amal, meaning ‘hope’ in Arabic is a programme making grants in the UK in support of a rich diversity of art projects and activities. The Amal programme helps sponsor p21 exhibitions.
‘Unnarrated,’ opens Thursday, 24 June – 10 July at the P21 Gallery