Exhibition
7 May 2024–6 July 2024

Charts for a Resurrection

by Dima Srouji

Part of New Exhibitions

The first-ever solo exhibition for artist, architect and researcher Dima Srouji

Starts 7 May 2024

Ends 6 July 2024

Venue Lawrie Shabibi

Warehouse 21

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Srouji’s work lies in the expanded context of interdisciplinary research projects. It acts as a form of political commentary and as a place-making or un-making tool. Srouji collaborates closely with archaeologists, anthropologists, glass blowers and sound designers to develop her architectural projects, installations, product designs, and writing. Working across a diverse range of media including glass, text, archival materials, maps, and film, Srouji questions ideas of identity and globalisation through historic strata and space, in connection to the spirit of a place and displacement. Interested in the ground, objects, displacement, restitution, forgeries, and living archives, Srouji looks for potential ruptures in the ground where imaginary liberation is possible.

The exhibition is conceived as two distinct spaces, the larger terrain and the more intimate chapel, comprising installations and archival prints that intertwine historical artefacts with imaginary archaeological sites.

In the larger space, stone carved windows with coloured glass inlay imagine future archaeological monuments in the Palestinian landscape constructed with the traditional technique of Qamariya windows, often found in mosques and churches in Palestine, Yemen, and Egypt.

Maternal Labour, a series of prints on aluminum, celebrates the real women often labelled as “basket girls” who were hired by western institutions in the 20th century to excavate the land that they owned and cultivated for centuries to extract valuable artefacts that were then displaced.

A nine square grid installation mounted on the wall reveals partially excavated glass vessels as if an excavation is underway. Known as the Kenyon technique named after British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon, the grid method was often used in excavations to remove one strata at a time from top to bottom. The glass vessels are ghostly replicas of the originals, grave goods, which were often excavated by western archaeologists from ancient tombs. Most of the vessels, dug up by the Palestinian basket girls were perfume bottles and cosmetic vessels used to access the afterlife.

Composed of suspended hand-blown glass sculptures, the title The Red River refers to the Belus River, which some historical narratives claim was the source of the sand for the first glass objects. Red refers to the water's colour, polluted by nearby industry, including the military factory Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. This river features prominently in personal stories such as that of Srouji's displaced grandmother-and in the larger memory of Palestine, part of the artist's projects with archaeologists, anthropologists, and artisans in exploring cultural heritage, history, and memory in Palestine.

A more intimate darkened, apsed space evokes a chapel, adorned with floating replicas of archeological vessels that were historically used as gifts to the dead for their afterlives. Here, amidst the unfolding tragedy in Palestine, the chapel serves as a sanctuary for mourning and meditation, fostering healing and envisioning the afterlives of the departed while imagining the future of a liberated Palestine through its fictional archaeological artefacts.

Dima srouji

maternal labour 2 2024

print on raw aluminium, 40 x 28 cm

courtesy the artist and lawrie shabibi

Dima srouji

maternal labour 16 2024

print on raw aluminium, 40 x 28 cm

courtesy the artist and lawrie shabibi

Dima srouji

maternal labour 8 2024

print on raw aluminium, 40 x 28 cm

courtesy the artist and lawrie shabibi