24 May — 7 June
LUX Scotland and Ajabu Ajabu Audio Visual House, Tanzania, are delighted to present the first of three online screenings and conversations in a new moving image exchange titled ‘Hadithi Hadithi: Place is mostly open space’ which will unfold over May and June.
This first screening, includes work by Arafa C. Hamadi and Rhona Mühlebach and is available to view online from 24 May to 7 June. A live online conversation between Hamadi and Mühlebach hosted by LUX Scotland and Ajabu Ajabu Audio Visual House will take place via Zoom on Tuesday, 31 May at 6:30pm (GMT). Places for this conversation are included in booking for the screening.
‘Hadithi Hadithi: Place is mostly open space’ is centered on stories from Tanzania and Scotland that reimagine space through excavation of folklore and visual myth making. The featured artists use a variety of approaches rooted in pre modern storytelling such as oral narration, anthropomorphising, improv, allegory, and other gifts of unfettered make-believe for a recreation or reinterpretation of place, history, origin and identity. Taken together the work seek to visualise what stories, encounters, epiphanies and resolutions reside watchfully in unoccupied spaces. It will culminate in the first ever moving image exhibition at the Zanzibar International Film Festival.
Rhona Mühlebach, ‘Excitement Is Not Part Of My Feeling Repertoire’, 2021. 27 mins
Arafa C. Hamadi, ‘Kujiona: In Conversation With Kevin Mwachiro’, 2020. 26 mins.
Rhona Mühlebach, ‘Excitement Is Not Part Of My Feeling Repertoire’, 2021
In the modern world, the expression of emotion is a mighty expectation. In the face of extinction, how can you trust what you feel?
Several narrative lines cross in ‘Excitement is not part of my feeling repertoire’. A detective has been advised to check her cynical disposition, a product of dealing in death. A Neanderthal woman struggles to place her feelings in the modern world. A modern man reckons with his wife’s murder by his own hand. The emotional estrangement that variously afflicts each of these characters is overseen by wild swine, whose superior capacity for survival affords them divine status in this story. Unlike the detective, Neanderthal woman and modern man, the swine are sure of themselves and their feelings. Unmoved by human and Neanderthal troubles, they comment and offer suggestions in a mocking tone. Their chorus is a portent perhaps, for a time when wild swine will outlive all.
Arafa C. Hamadi, ‘Kujiona: In Conversation With Kevin Mwachiro’, 2020.
‘In this series, I explore my culture with an intent to find myself within it. I am from Dar-es-Salaam, and I have found myself actively and inactively living in other towns along this Swahili coast. This has led me to a process of relearning about my home, the cultures and the people who live here. The Kujiona Series is born from this process, and includes the conversations and creations I have accumulated.
The titular meditative film, Kujiona, follows the progression of a protagonist, myself, having two conversations. The first is with the scavenged dhow that I have created an artwork out of. The second is a conversation with Kevin Mwachiro – a queer Swahili man who has also found himself through engaging with the coast. This is presented through snippets overlaid with sounds from the coast that are familiar, and I hope this captures the continuous dialogue I am having with my home.’
- Arafa C. Hamadi
Forthcoming events in ‘Hadithi Hadithi: Place is mostly open space’ include:
Gertrude Malizana and Saoirse Wall, online screening 31 May – 14 June with online conversation on 7 June at 6:30pm (GMT)
Valerie Asiimwe Amani and Sekai Machache, online screening 7 – 21 June with online conversation on 14 June at 6:30pm (GMT)
Zanzibar International Film Festival, 23 June, 7pm, (East Africa Time)
Image 1: An image of an exterior courtyard scene, the background is out of focus and there are many blue, green, yellow and white plastic buckets stacked against a wall. To the left a pink curtain hangs on a washing line with a white blanket on the right side. A white text super imposed over the image reads: AJABU AJABU and LUX Scotland presents HADITHI HADITHI, ONCE UPON A TIME, place is mostly open space.
Image 2: An image of a white person reclining in a sleeping bag with one hand behind their head. The surrounding is dark and only their face is illuminated. Their expression is melancholic.
Image 3: A black and white image of a black person walking around a worn out wooden boat. They are wearing white dungarees have a paint pot in one hand and a brush in the other, the front of the boat is painted white. Two large white pillars appear behind the boat.
Image 4: A black logo which says British Council Scotland with four black circles to the left arranged in a square.
Rhona Mühlebach is an artist working with video, audio and text. She graduated from the University of Art and Design Lausanne, BA Film, in 2014 and the Glasgow School of Art, MFA, in 2017. Her work has been presented at the Kunstraum Kreuzlingen (solo), Swiss Art Awards, Travelling Gallery Scotland, Intermedia Gallery CCA Glasgow (solo), Alchemy Film & Arts Hawick (solo), Sic! Raum für Kunst Luzern (solo), Joburg Fringe, Bloomberg New Contemporaries. Rhona’s videos have been screened at numerous film festivals including in the UK, USA, Switzerland, South Africa, Portugal, Poland, South Korea and France.
Arafa Cynthia Hamadi is a non-binary, multidisciplinary artist working in Tanzania and Kenya. They create artwork in various mediums that address the intersections of the conceptual and the physical, as well as the ephemeral and the permanent, in the hopes of provoking their visitors into considering their daily realities. Arafa’s work also explores their queerness in relation to space and occupancy. They work in the realms of 3D design, graphic design, sculpture and architecture.
Ajabu Ajabu is a collective of audio-visual practitioners based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania working on the preservation, production, and presentation of audio-visual art. Their work is centred around curatorial interrogations related to deconstructing bias across film cultures, platforming underrepresented narratives and modes of storytelling, and promoting amateur and experimental practice.
Darragh Amelia is an audio-visual practitioner and curator whose creative production challenges the patriarchal narratives and hierarchical structures that exert control over the arts. Her hybrid work in film, moving image, and radio is collaboratively driven and imagines alternative modes of both practice and access. She is a founding member of Ajabu Ajabu.
Jesse Gerard is a storyteller from Kasulu, Tanzania, currently working as a writer and curator in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He has curated extensively at Nafasi Art Space, a multidisciplinary art centre, where he has worked to support the artistic development of emerging artists and culture workers. His writing has been featured in journals such as Art Monthly, Nairobi Contemporary, The Black Explorer, and OFF TO. He is a founding member of Ajabu Ajabu.
Closed Captions Captions by Valery Tough
Notes Online conversation will be live captioned.