Call the Waves brings together new works from artists, musicians, and historians Alia Mossalam, Bint Mbareh, Fern Thomas, Kandace Siobhan Walker, Maya Al Khaldi and Noureddine Ezarraf. The project is co-curated by QANAT and SWAY, held collaboratively by Francesca Masoero, Louise Hobson and Shayma Nader.
QANAT and SWAY have come together through interconnected intimacies with water, moving with seas, estuaries, springs, and underground waterways to think collectively on how to narrate and relate to each other and our environments otherwise. Within Call the Waves the group of artists propose a reclaiming of histories and futures, songs and stories, knowledges and practices, each carried through a different body of water in Morocco, Palestine, Wales and beyond.
Call the Waves will unfold across talks, performances, workshops and an exhibition, alongside conversations with other practitioners whose work moves from, and is informed by the politics and poetics of water. As streams meandering through territories and confluating in the sea, Call the Waves comes together as an ensemble of voices, a polyphony of tales.
Since 2010 cultural historian, educator and writer Alia Mossalam has been researching the marginalised histories and legacies of the Nubian people displaced by the building of the Aswan High Dam (1960-1970) in Egypt. Through working with family archives, Alia explores how stories and songs have travelled, across time, and through rivers and in this new work Alia will trace one family story, made of winds, streams and whispers of resistance and displacement.
Artist and musician Bint Mbareh locates the sonic space as a communal resource and in Stellar Footprints she works with the astrologically led agricultural systems of Palestine to explore how the sky imprints its secrets onto the land and how those secrets manifest into the future. Where becoming unintelligible is a way of forming protection from colonisation, Bint Mbareh draws on the sonic character of secret telling to consider material realities of encryption, sound and futurity.
In recent work artist Fern Thomas has imagined fictional islands that change form and slip between times, and in SURGE she turns her attention to the waters around these islands and the different capacities they contain. Working with the ancient future wisdom held within the hidden depths of the sea and the interrelations between us, the water, the moon and the outermost stars, Fern holds the water as an oracle and we take ourselves to the water with questions.
Artist and writer Kandace Siobahn Walker is developing a new poetry film rooted in reclaiming traditional ecological knowledges through familial practices of fishing net weaving. Connecting with her father’s hands weaving seine nets on Sapelo Island off the coast of mainland Georgia in the USA, Kandace draws on research into Black and Native cosmologies and folk mythologies to explore water as a site of resistance and revival, the shore a place for casting out and calling in.
Artist and musician Maya Al Khalidi often composes from archival material and musical heritage and in Sing for them to see she will reassemble songs learnt from the Maqam keeper of Maqam al-Nabi Ayoub, situated near a spring of the same name in Ras Karkar in Palestine. The spring, now surrounded and locked by the Israeli army, was once a source for communal washing, drinking and healing and in this new work Maya reimagines the time when the water was flowing and the voices were singing.
Artist and poet Noureddine Ezarraf works from the landscape and water lines of Aghmat, a small town next to Marrakech (Morocco) to consider how colonial geometry/ies formed territories and how infrastructural relationships with water can alter social, temporal and cultural practices and modes of belonging. Exploring alternative destinies of irrigation techniques and technologies, Aghmat weaves together the intimate cartographies of the city, its waters and the plants that grow or used to grow alongside.
Alia Mossalam is a cultural historian, educator and writer based in Berlin. Alia is interested in songs that tell stories and stories that tell the experiences of people behind the events that make World History. Alia has taught at the Cairo Institute for Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Free University in Berlin, and she founded the History Workshops ‘Ihky ya Tarikh’. She is currently working on her first book as Fellow of the EUME program at the Transregional Studies Forum in Berlin.
Bint Mbareh is a sound researcher based in London. Bint Mbareh’s work with music began with researching rain-summoning songs in Palestine, and she continues to work with ideas of time bending, building and challenging settler colonial ideas of linear time. She has recently performed at the Mardin Biennale (2022), Mophradat's Read the Room Festival (2022) and Hoda Siahtiri’s symposium on Loss and Resilience - No Body’s Body ( 2022).
Fern Thomas is an artist from Wales, based in Swansea. Fern’s practice is based within the field of Social Sculpture with a focus on re-imagined histories, ritual, place-based knowledge and alternative pedagogies. She is currently a Future Wales Fellow with Arts Council Wales and Natural Resources Wales and Artist in Residence for Ancient Connections. Fern recently presented Spirit Mirror – a solo exhibition at Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea.
Kandace Siobhan Walker is a Canadian-born Jamaican Gullah-Geechee writer and filmmaker. She is an editor at bath magg. She was a recipient of an Eric Gregory Award and was the winner of The White Review Poet’s Prize in 2021. Her debut poetry pamphlet, Kaleido, will be published by Bad Betty Press in 2022. She grew up in Wales and lives in London. She is represented by Abi Fellows at The Good Literary Agency.
Maya Al Khaldi is an artist, musician and composer from Palestine, based in Jerusalem. Maya’s work explores voice and the music of the past and present, working with archival materials to imagine the future. She teaches music theory and voice at the Edward Said national conservatory and with a Terre Des Hommes project in Jerusalem, Palestine. She has most recently released her first solo album Other World.
Noureddine Ezarraf is an artist, essayist and a bricoleur poet living and working in Marrakech, Morocco. Through a multidisciplinary and hybrid practice, his work spans from research into the institutes interconnecting architecture and proxemics with the politics embedded in listening, to the iconologies and rhetorics of tourism as an hyper-colonisation of spaces and territories, especially in the context of Morocco. Noureddine also writes on Amazigh futurism.
SWAY is a collaborative project in Barry, tethered to the town’s hyper-tidal waters on the coast of South Wales. Between an estuary and the sea, Sway proposes collective conversations on attachments, entanglements, communing and collective-making across the local landscape. With the spring tides of March 2022 SWAY began to host artists, researchers, writers and residents in multidisciplinary dialogues, public programmes and other activities in hydrological time at the shore. Sway is curated by Louise Hobson, an independent curator based in Barry. Louise is also Deputy Director of Peak Cymru.
QANAT is a collective platform exploring the politics and poetics of water to reflect on, and act upon the multiple contextual configurations of the commons in Morocco and beyond. Drawing from the legacy of the qanat (or khettara) system of water harvesting at the foundation of Marrakech, QANAT proposes to develop collective imaginaries to speculate on new spatial and epistemological configurations for the city. In parallel, it branches out to resonant reflections and actions in order to learn from other local struggles and knit them together into transnational patterns of solidarity and exchange. QANAT was initiated at LE 18 in 2017 by Francesca Masoero, cultural organiser, curator and researcher based in Marrakech. Shayma Nader is a visual artist, independent curator and researcher based in Ramallah. She has been collaborating with QANAT since 2017.
Chapter Gallery is an international arts space that commissions, produces and presents contemporary visual and live art projects. We offer ambitious, challenging and wide-ranging programme of exhibitions, residencies, commissions and events by established Welsh and international artists.
This project is supported by the Arts Council of Wales and Wales Arts International.