Shezad Dawood – Leviathan: We go elsewhere Exhibition (Preview – 17 June) – 17 June to 19 Aug

Shezad Dawood’s Leviathan film series is an episodic exploration of the current challenges we face in the intersection between climate change, migration, and mental health. The film series envisages a future eerily like our present, whose inhabitants are the survivors of a cataclysmic solar event. Each film is written from the point of view of an individual character, providing insight into their trauma and pathological traits and giving each episode its own personality, visual language and rhythm. At Void Gallery we are premiering Episode 8 of the series that elucidates the indigenous perspective on the impact of climate change and the nature of the universe according to their culture. The film looks at the interconnections between nature and the indigenous community. In ways, proposing we move from an anthropocentric view to the era of the Symbioscience, an epoch that highlights the interconnection between nature and humans, living together for mutual benefit and moving towards an ecological philosophy.

Dawood’s suite of paintings, Labanof Cycle, are based on research with the Laboratory of Anthropological Forensics (Labanof) at the University of Milan – an institute that conducts research on personal effects lost by migrants during sea crossings to Lampedusa, in order to help families identify missing relatives. A series of artefacts and objects from the Labanof archive provide the visual references for the textile works. These were developed in dialogue with the renowned textile manufacturer Fortuny, and incorporate their handmade fabrics. These works are a poignant reminder of the ongoing migrant crisis that continues to develop throughout the world – most recently with the war in Sudan.

The film and textile pieces create this symbiotic relationship to the crisis in terms of the climate emergency and migration. The humanitarian echoes the wider ecological crisis through the loss of species throughout the world. Migration is exacerbated through climate events and the collapse of crops, from monoculture farming to the resource-rich countries that are subject to wars both external and internal. The capitalist pursuit of extraction and greed drive these interconnected crises we are faced with continually; at which point does it turn? Dawood interweaves these narratives from disparate regions to create an awareness and a means to have a more holistic view of how the future might be shaped.

Shezad Dawood Biography

Shezad Dawood is a multidisciplinary artist who interweaves stories, realities and symbolism to create richly layered artworks, spanning painting, textiles, sculpture, film and digital media. Fascinated by ecologies and architecture, his work takes a philosophical approach, asking questions and exploring alternative futures through what Dawood describes as ‘world-building’ and ‘imagineering’. His practice is animated by research, working with multiple audiences and communities to delve into narrative, history and embodiment.

His fascination with the esoteric, otherness, the environment and architectures both material and virtual, can be seen across numerous projects, most recently at Night in the Garden of Love: Inspired by & featuring Yusef Lateef; WIELS, Brussels (2023); Sea of Redemption, Shezad Dawood x Zien; Integrations, Barakat Contemporary, Seoul (2023); HMS Alice Liddell, St Pancras Wires commission, London (2022) and previously at institutions as varied as Tate Britain, MoMA, MOCA Toronto and the MORI Art Museum, Tokyo. His film works have been screened internationally, including at the ICA, London; MoMA and Guggenheim, New York.


Promotional image credit: Shezad Dawood, Leviathan Cycle, Episode 8: Cris, Sandra, Papa & Yasmine, 2023. Single screen, HD video, 17:33. Commissioned by Hybrid Futures (a multi-part collaboration focusing on climate, sustainability, collaborative learning and co-production between Castlefield Gallery, Manchester; Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool; Touchstones Rochdale; University of Salford Art Collection and Shezad Dawood Studio, and generously supported by Arts Council England and Art Fund), Leviathan — Human & Marine Ecology Ltd, Void Gallery, Derry.

This exhibition was curated by outgoing Director of Void Mary Cremin. Mary’s programme of exhibitions will run until autumn 2024.

Void Gallery is supported using public funding from Arts Council Northern Ireland, Arts Council National Lottery Fund, All Island Fund, Austin and Hope Pilkington Foundation, Arnold Clarke Foundation, Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund, Community Foundation Ireland, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Enkalon Foundation, National Lottery Community Fund, The Ireland Funds, Ragdoll Foundation.

Saturday 17 June, 6-8pm
The opening preview of Shezad Dawood’s solo exhibition Leviathan: We go elsewhere.
Exhibition continues from 17 June – 19 August 2023.

Void Gallery
10 Waterloo Place, Derry-Londonderry, BT48 6BU
Telephone 0044 (0)28 7130 8080

Opening hours
Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 5pm

Admission Free

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New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.