THE EXCHANGE ON SUNDAY ! ARTIST PROFILE P. 2 • VENICE BIENNALE P.4 CURRENT EXHIBITION P.10 • POETRY P.10 • RECIPE P.11
As the sun rises, and once again eyes blink away our yesterday, so we launch forth and face the challenges that await us, taking with us our thoughts and reflections, and with hope for that ever elusive tomorrow… As we do this, I suggest that we become creators of our past, present and future, ever changing the world we inhabit. Each person, encounter, experience. Forming us, transforming us, inspiring or angering us. There is something that drives us ever forward, our imaginations making new meanings, finding new pathways. In the spirit of this, we have found commentary on art and culture from Hyson Green to Venice, from Indian perspectives to those of Egypt. With the unique personal view of each of our contributors, you are invited to delve gently into those worlds, even for a moment, as you sip on a herbal tea, or tuck into a deliciously indulgent homemade pancake! Welcome once again to The Exchange on Sunday! Sooree Pillay
This issue of ‘The Exchange on Sunday!’ has been put together by: Bethan Davis, Maria Rosaria Digregorio, Skinder Hundal, Sooree Pillay.
Submissions to Sooree@nae.org.uk Deadline every Monday! Set in Merriweather, printed at NAE on Steinbeis MagicColour blue 80 g/m².
16.06.2013 / #2
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. M.K. Gandhi, ‘Young India’ (Ahmedabad, 11th August 1920)
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THE WEEK AHEAD AT NAE REFUGEE WEEK SPECIAL: THE FORTRESS FOLLOWED BY Q&A Thursday 20th June, 7-9.15pm, free! Book to reserve a place! AN EVENING WITH SURA SUSSO Fusing musical sounds from West Africa Friday 21st June, 7-8:30pm, £8/6 concs GALLERY TOUR WITH ROGER BROMLEY – EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF CULTURE Saturday 22nd June, 12pm, free! AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS! Performance of Bellydance, Brazilian, Contemporary/Modern, Latin. Join Nottingham Dance Collective! Sunday 23rd June, 4pm, £12/8 concs
2 â€˘ ARTIST PROFILE
Aakash Odedra Rising, four solo pieces choreographed by Aakash Odedra, Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Russell Maliphant by SOOREE PILLAY
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Sooree Pillay is, was, and will be for a while longer...
ina Join V her for Ladwa aft and n cr india orkshops w dance Sunday, every at ask ion! recept Award-winning dancer, Aakash Odedra trained in classical Indian Kathak and Bharat Natyam dance, both in India and the UK. This international tour of Rising, is the result of his collaboration with three other choreographers. As well as this current tour, Aakash is preparing a new piece, part of an evening celebrating the life of James Brown, to be premiered at the Apollo Theatre, New York in October 2013. Soaring into myself, black to razor sharp white, shakes my being. A figure, silhouetted, cuts the light in the auditorium. His body, with frightening precision, glides and slices the air, as he executes the finest and most strikingly modern interpretation of kathak dance. Aakash Odedra: slight of build with a will of iron in his eyes, yet a softness that renders his work deeply moving. Though the four pieces presented in this work entitled Rising, are stylistically different, I find a unity and fluidity that leads me from one phrase to the next. As we are left standing at the end of the first piece, so then my gaze is taken swiftly to the floor. We share anguish with Odedra as he oscillates between animal and human, exquisitely grotesque, his body seemingly being torn itself limb from limb, he, a man, yet caught in this constant state of flux, a wild animal looking through the bars of a cage. Cut, as its title suggests, again reminds us of the virtuosity of the artist we see before us. His technique is gripping, effortless, with an accuracy that leaves me breathless.
3 • THE EXCHANGE ON SUNDAY!
Here, Aakash dominates harsh shards of light, moving him from a shadowy haze, into a stripped pathway, leading us forward, as though to our death, to our life. He poses his hand gently, allowing us a brief full stop, before we are invited once again to delve deeper, faster, and back, angular lines pushing us forward, with him, and yet he seems so alone. So, we are guided on. Light and dark a motif of the work, the final phrase begs a softer regard, as I follow the artist, this a poetic journey. Moving silently through, Odedra becomes light itself, inspiring the notion in me that he is playing with stars, innocent, naive, untarnished. The stage is populated by light bulbs, illuminating at various points, Aakash, again effortlessly up and round, I glide with him, as I finally find the pulse of my heartbeat. As the last glimmer is extinguished, I am left in the same place I began, but profoundly changed. This astonishing artist seems to have no bounds, as he moves from spinning in impossible circles, to tapping out the sound of a seemingly neon light, with his feet. I watch him, as he darts between intense light and dark, sweeping me majestically into this dreamlike playground. He is a beast, and a god. He is a child, yet with a maturity and clarity that I feel in my core, but struggle to explain. Every move makes perfect sense, I do not know why… From contemporary to classical, nor do I care to which form I can attribute this unique body of work. The fusion seamless, and richly woven, it is so intensely human, so humble and courageous, that I feel the warmth as his delicate hand radiates energy with the touch of a light bulb.
Aakash Odedra performing at Djanogly Theatre, Lakeside, 4 June 2013. ‘Rising’ was co-commisioned by New Art Exchange with Dance4 and premiered at DanceXchange, Birmingham on 2011.
4 • VENICE BIENNALE 2013
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venice biennale 2013 by Skinder Hundal
My recent visit to Venice Biennale (VB) was an inspiring exploration. VB is an internationally curated show split into two key strands. Strand 1 is curated by a guest and given a theme. This years guest was Massimiliano Gioni who named it II Palazzo Enciclopedico (The Encyclopedia Palace). Strand 2 is a series of national pavilions on two main sites and across the back canals and streets of this sinking city. The British Pavilion presented Jeremy Deller.
Skinder Hundal’s artist choice Stefano Cagol presented The Ice Monolith a glacier iceberg shipped from the mountains of Switzerland. The melting process was filmed and documented, with 24hr security. The melting symbolised the displacement of water and the impact this has on vulnerable Islands like the Maldives, predicted to disappear in 50 years. Each time I passed it, the iceberg came alive as it died. It was a beautiful and an angry moment for both myself and the iceberg. In the end it became a puddle and just before this I saw a dog lap up the final remnants of broken splintered ice. So I removed the dog and took a piece of the ice… like a scavenger. Ekow Eshun’s Artist Choice In the Russia Pavilion, Vadim Zhakarov rained gold coins down on the heads of spectators. Zhakarov brought to life the Greek myth of Zeus and Danae, crafting a mise-en-scène of sex and power that Ekow Eshun is a was hypnotic and writer, broadcaster and vaguely seductive. cultural commentator Baz Lurhmann and ex-Director recently tried to of the Institute of describe the perils Contemporary Arts in of wealth and desire London in his movie of The Great Gatsby. Zhakarov took on the same theme, and with a similarly ‘bravura’ sensibility to Lurhmann. But where the former over-reached and failed, Zhakarov has succeeded thanks to a sharper acuity of gaze and a slyly subversive sense of humour.
5 • THE EXCHANGE ON SUNDAY!
Faiza Butt’s artist choice My most memorable experience at the Venice has to be Walking on water by Mohammed Kazem, at the UAE Pavilion. It reminded me of another similar sensation I felt years ago, walking down the isle of Richard Wilson’s 20:50 installation at the Saatchi Gallery. This sense of being surrounded, or wrapped by a threatening presence. I believe to ‘recreate’ environments and situations, successfully remains a big challenge in the art world, but if done well, its impact is everlasting. Standing at the deck in a room evoking moonlight, one is surrounded by moving image of the ocean complete with the sound. Under your feet you have the exact time and altitude of that location. It was incredible after a few moments, my companion said, she believes the Faiza Butt is an artist ground beneath her who featured in Venice is swaying as if on a Biennale 2013 boat and she is sea sick. I was also informed of that moment in the artist’s life when he accidentally fell into the sea, and the infinite presence and might of the ocean remains a frontier for him. The piece evokes horror yet remains poetic and scientific at the same time. I believe the installation/video/sound piece, made a very powerful impact, as it involved and engaged all senses of the viewer very quickly. Wonderful to see works like these emerging from UAE.
Skinder Hundal is CEO of NAE and is interested in the ‘emergence’ and ‘dream’
Alexandra Pirici and Manuel Pelmus ‘An Immaterial Retrospective of the Venice Biennale’
Roger Malbert’s artist choice Alexandra Pirici and Manuel Pelmus presented An Immaterial Retrospective of the Venice Biennale for the Romanian Pavilion. Five young performers – actors or dancers - enact works from the past 100 years of Biennales, striking poses after announcing the title and country and year of their subject. They are dressed in everyday clothes and the audience wanders around them. The Pavilion is bare; this is ‘Poor Theatre’, but with humour rather than pathos. When I arrive they are Roger Malbert is clustered in the Director of Touring at heroic poses of Hayward Gallery some Stalinist or fascist sculpture, striding into the future. Then they lie enfolded on the floor as Malevich’s Black Circle, from the Soviet Pavilion of 1924, after which one woman takes the pose of Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure, British Pavilion 1954 (an easy one), followed by Edward Hopper’s Hotel Lobby, 1954, a drawing of two tigers (hilarious) in the Japan room, 1924, and the Guerrilla Girls 2005. The shifts from figurative to abstract to conceptual were ceaselessly inventive and entertaining and I could have spent the afternoon in there, my faith in art restored.
6 • HOME AND AWAY
Curator Paul Go with artist Marle
‘Stuart Hall & John Akomfrah: Creating Monument’ symposium (by Muhammed El Nahas)
Artist John Akomfrah
Helen and Edie enjoying our ‘Tea and Sugar’ workshop (by Muhammed El Nahas)
‘The Exchange on Sunday’ press sofa, with Sooree Pillay and Maria Rosaria Digregorio (by Skinder Hundal)
7 â€˘ THE EXCHANGE ON SUNDAY!
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NAE with Hetain Patel and Yuyu Rau at TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh, (by Skinder Hundal) Photographer Ben Harriot of UrBen Media (by Skinder Hundal)
Sunday activities at NAE! (by Muhammed El Nahas and Sooree Pillay)
8 • CURRENT EXHIBITION Reflections on ‘The Unfinished Conversation’ by John Akomfrah, film installation about Stuart Hall showing at NAE until 14 July.
Unfinished Thoughts by Roshni Belakavadi
I spent the first night in Nottingham convincing myself that I would catch the next flight available when the sun is out to return home, to Bangalore, India which I had left behind in hope of better education, and therefore better future and better prospects. My first glimpse of Nottingham on an autumn night and the weight of all I had left behind had clearly crushed that. Five years later, however, as I stand watching the John Akomfrah’s film installation, The Unfinished Conversation at New Art Exchange, Nottingham, where I work, I wonder what dreams and expectation these people stepping off the plane onto a foreign land, as portrayed in the archive footages, hold in their eyes and hearts. And were they crushed as well? Have they made this foreign land their own, as I have? Did they look back five
Roshni Belakavadi Exhibitions and Programme Co-ordinator at NAE, loves Instagram, cooking and anything that the Indian poet, Tagore ever wrote.
Amin Maalouf is a Lebanese-born French author. Among his best known novels are: ‘Leo Africanus’, ‘Samarkand’, ‘The Gardens of Light’ and ‘The Century after Beatrice’.
years on and feel they had come a long way? Did they feel their had accomplished a better future as they had hoped for? Was their struggle, the struggle of any aspirant, or was it determined by something else like the colour of the skin or their place of origin? Apart from richness of the references and the craftsmanship of film-making evident in the film, I think the parallel that I can draw within my own story and those portrayed in the film is the reason that this film is significant. It is a bricolage of our collective memory and therefore our collective history. History and memory presented not as a linear narrative but as multifaceted myriad and complex as each of our individual ever evolving stories. Much like the story as articulated through the life and the work of Stuart Hall, who I believe was a voice of many of those stories told so eloquently and effectively.
9 • THE EXCHANGE ON SUNDAY!
Stuart Hall & Amin Maalouf The unfinished conversation is better left unfinished by SARA HANY
“Identity is an unfinished conversation.”, said Stuart Hall, born a decade before Amin Maalouf a native Lebanese writer living as a French citizen for 22 years. Amin Maalouf believes that identity is not given once and for all; it is constructed and transformed throughout one’s existence, which is Stuart Hall’s notion, that new identities are constantly being shifted and recreated. They both stress on the idea that it is a work in progress being rebuilt and reshaped according to every here and now one lives. In his book, Leo the African, also known as Leo Africanus, which is based upon the biography of Al Hassan Ebn Al Wazzan the traveller, Amin Maalouf starts in the very first pages with Leo’s description of himself when he says, “I am now called the African, but I am not from Africa, not from Europe, nor from Arabia. I am also called the Granadan, the Fassi, the Zayyati but I come from no country, no city, no tribe. I am the son of the road. My country is the caravan. My life the most unexpected adventure.”
Sara Hany is a visual artist from Alexandria, Egypt. She is currently volunteering at NAE as part of her one year EVS program in Nottingham.
This echoes both experiences of immigration and identity questions of Stuart Hall and Amin Maalouf. When Stuart Hall says, “Britain is my home, but I’m not English”, he chooses to reject the idea of forcing himself into an identity and ignoring another. He chooses to be who he is with several ingredients, just like a good recipe of blueberry cheese cake which has the sour and sweet taste in harmony without neither contradiction nor domination. In the same context Amin Maalouf asks, “Would I become more authentic if I cut part off myself? … Identity cannot be compartmentalized, it cannot be split in halves or thirds, nor have any clearly defined set of boundaries. I do not have several identities, I only have one, made of all the elements that have shaped its unique proportions.” In spite of the fact that something endless or unfinished may seem burdensome to many people, I think of it as a liberating idea because it gives wider probabilities of being and broader self-construction chances. Yet if it were resolved from day one with a given name by birth and an identity card, we would be as neutral as water. No colour, no taste, no uniqueness. The everyday, the here and now that intersects with our past is what makes each one of us an original masterpiece. The unfinished conversation is better left unfinished.
10 • POETRY
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Henderson Mullin is CEO of Writing East Midlands. He knows few answers but has plenty of questions.
by HENDERSON MULLIN
Stone by Liz Berry
Liz Berry was born in the Black Country and now lives in London. Her poems, which she delivers in a hypnotic accent, remind me of my own growing-up down the road in Birmingham – of sitting cross legged on the story mat. They make you look at things a little harder because they are rarely as they seem. Each time I read Stone I find something new. She’s fantastic.
When you bought me a milk pan for Christmas a woman at work said you were as romantic as a stone. Watching you that evening, I wondered what stone she had meant a chip of carpark gravel or something fancier like the peridot in my mother’s engagement ring? My interest in you became geological. Pulling on your wellington’s to walk the dog in rain, you were granite, durable, funereal almost. Under the water of the bath, you were the agate I found on Brighton beach as a child, sleek and mottled as the skin of a seal. At other times you seemed a rarer gem, not emerald or topaz, nothing any woman would wear at her throat; but plainer, more lovely, like the limestone walling the caverns back home that purified the iron in blast furnaces where keepers dripped jet from their beading brows. And a man like that would never choose a rose or a diamond ring, he’d stand for hours in a shop on the coldest day, testing the unfamiliar weight of a pan in his hand, assessing its metal, imagining how the milk would taste on my tongue as it poured, steaming, from that perfect lip.
11 • RECIPE OF THE WEEK
fattoush A Lebanese salad
by ARMINDOKHT SHOOSHTARI
This is a Lebanese salad made with vegetables and bread. The great thing about it is that you can add or take away any vegetables and it would still taste heavenly. Here is the recipe I use but I’m sure if you search you can find many variations! For the salad • 1/2 romaine lettuce (torn into small pieces) • 1/4 chopped parsley • 1/2 cup of sliced radish • 1 cup of diced cucumber • 2 diced tomatoes • 2 cups of toasted pitta bread • 1/2 cup of diced onion For dressing • 1 or 2 tablespoons of sumac • 1/2 cup of lemon juice • 1 or 2 crushed garlic cloves • olive oil • salt and pepper to taste Preparation In a large bowl, combine all the vegetables and toasted pitta bread. Prepare the dressing and pour over the salad.
Armindokht Shooshtari is enthusiastic about world culture, art, languages and foods and music and a whole lot more.
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This heathy and delicious dish is really easy to prepare… but if you are in a rush, it’s also available in our café!
12 • COMING UP AT NAE
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS NOTTINGHAM DANCE COLLECTIVE’S Fantastic dance production takes you around the world with Bellydance, Brazilian, Contemporary/Modern, Latin, Can-Can and much more! SUNDAY 23 JUNE | 4PM NEW ART EXCHANGE £12 FULL | £8 CONCESSION
New Art Exchange 39-41 Gregory Boulevard Nottingham NG7 6BE
0115 924 8630 firstname.lastname@example.org