Rehana Zaman @ Tenderpixel

ZM - 4th Dec 2016


It sounds strange but I find it difficult to write about things I really like in a straightforward way. 

I don’t know how to not gush, or how to disentangle my own investment from the real or tangible way it has affected me. So I won’t try, but hopefully you’ll be able to see where these two things start, end, or meet each other. 


The three video works flip between three scenes or settings. 


Farah, a woman who could be any of my aunts. Farah is cooking, speaking about identity / sexuality / her radical self-actualisation / self-emancipation is something she brushes past casually like it was a phase in her life / NBD / she is my youngest aunt who wears stan smiths and listens to Nas but makes a killer biriyani and Believes / she is where east meets west / somewhere between these two things where women are free but still unashamedly b r o w n / she is radical in a casual way / her politics are personal and her life is an example of what radical softness and self-care means in practice / the stakes are high for her but she doesn’t bother caring / she is insistent on living life on her own terms / when I was young, my grandmother told me not to bow to any one but Allah. No Kings, no crowds, no man, not ever. It was only recently that I thought perhaps she didn’t mean bow literally, but maybe figuratively. 


A 3D rendered woman. She is lumpy brown and the texture of her skin matches the landscape of her background (the landscape is barren). She is uncanny, I guess, and maybe abject but I’m not sure. She moves like a bird, you know, the way their heads move kinda funny bc their eyes are on the sides? Her body slides and ripples. She makes me feel uncomfortable because I’m not sure if she’s meant to look like she knows I’m looking, but I feel conspicuous. I feel bad for looking at her, making her the object of my gaze. She runs at the viewer/the camera. Her mouth opens. She swallows us whole. The inside of her mouth / back of her throat is textured too. 


A screen-capture of the government’s Prevent website. It was funny, and it fit, but I don’t know why. I’m not sure what connection it made in my mind, but I liked that it was there, and it definitely made sense to me. The tinny musak in the background was soooooo deadpan. Be careful bc radicalisation is e v e r y w h e r e. It felt like an insert you’d see somewhere on brown twitter. All that was missing was the funny tweet caption, but I guess that’s the joke. 


I am invested. In the political arena brown women find themselves in when they put their bodies/their minds/their body of work into public space. And it is SO easy for this line of questioning to become didactic, to slip into polemic, to expect complicity where 2016 has firmly let us know that we are on our own. The works in this show expected no complicity. They knew some of you aren’t here for us, that you reject the frightening assertion that we should be equal and guarded. They gently probed where brown muslim women are positioned and where they position themselves. What does radically look like when we wear it? The works stretched against the thin membrane around us, that binds us. Complicity is naive, maybe that’s what I mean when I say didacticism isn’t necessarily the best way to deal with this as a topic. The didactic, as a force of essentialism, can be easily rejected in its singularity. The instability of these works, their form, makes them stickier and harder to flush out. They have more autonomy to argue. Assert themselves. Occupy the space they are in. 


I loved this show, I loved the works. It is important it’s there and that importance is urgent. As I left, I felt a tear form in my left eye (but it was windy so probably just a wind-tear). I texted my friend Seema telling her to go see this show; it made me think of her and I know she would love it. I recommend this to You. 

The show 'Tell me the story Of all these things' is on till 28th Jan @ Tenderpixel

b͓̽e͓̽s͓̽t͓̽ ͓̽v͓̽i͓̽e͓̽w͓̽e͓̽d͓̽ ͓̽i͓̽n͓̽ ͓̽l͓̽a͓̽n͓̽d͓̽s͓̽c͓̽a͓̽p͓̽e͓̽
͓̽o͓̽r͓̽ ͓̽o͓̽n͓̽ ͓̽a͓̽ ͓̽d͓̽e͓̽s͓̽k͓̽t͓̽o͓̽p͓̽

{ 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔬𝔫𝔩𝔶 𝔯𝔢𝔞𝔰𝔬𝔫 𝔗𝔥𝔢 𝔚𝔥𝔦𝔱𝔢 𝔓𝔲𝔟𝔢 𝔠𝔞𝔫 𝔰𝔱𝔦𝔩𝔩 𝔢𝔵𝔦𝔰𝔱 𝔦𝔰 𝔟𝔢𝔠𝔞𝔲𝔰𝔢 𝔰𝔬𝔪𝔢 𝔬𝔣 𝔬𝔲𝔯 𝔯𝔢𝔞𝔡𝔢𝔯𝔰 𝔠𝔥𝔬𝔬𝔰𝔢 𝔱𝔬 𝔰𝔲𝔭𝔭𝔬𝔯𝔱 𝔲𝔰 𝔢𝔞𝔠𝔥 𝔪𝔬𝔫𝔱𝔥 𝔳𝔦𝔞 𝔓𝔞𝔱𝔯𝔢𝔬𝔫. 𝔚𝔢 𝔰𝔬𝔪𝔢𝔱𝔦𝔪𝔢𝔰 𝔡𝔬 𝔱𝔞𝔩𝔨𝔰 𝔞𝔫𝔡 𝔬𝔱𝔥𝔢𝔯 𝔧𝔬𝔟𝔰 𝔟𝔲𝔱 𝔓𝔞𝔱𝔯𝔢𝔬𝔫 𝔦𝔰 𝔥𝔬𝔴 𝔴𝔢 𝔤𝔢𝔱 𝔭𝔞𝔦𝔡 𝔣𝔬𝔯 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔞𝔠𝔱𝔲𝔞𝔩 𝔴𝔯𝔦𝔱𝔦𝔫𝔤 𝔥𝔢𝔯𝔢 - 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔯𝔢𝔳𝔦𝔢𝔴𝔰 𝔫 𝔞𝔯𝔱 𝔱𝔥𝔬𝔲𝔤𝔥𝔱𝔰 𝔞𝔫𝔡 𝔰𝔬 𝔬𝔫. 𝔄𝔫𝔡 𝔦𝔱'𝔰 𝔰𝔬 𝔦𝔪𝔭𝔬𝔯𝔱𝔞𝔫𝔱 𝔱𝔬 𝔲𝔰 2 𝔱𝔥𝔞𝔱 𝔴𝔢 𝔠𝔞𝔫 𝔰𝔱𝔞𝔶 𝔦𝔫𝔡𝔢𝔭𝔢𝔫𝔡𝔢𝔫𝔱 𝔠𝔯𝔦𝔱𝔦𝔠𝔰 𝔴𝔦𝔱𝔥𝔬𝔲𝔱 𝔱𝔦𝔢𝔰 𝔱𝔬 𝔟𝔦𝔤 𝔣𝔲𝔫𝔡𝔢𝔯𝔰 𝔬𝔯 𝔦𝔫𝔰𝔱𝔦𝔱𝔲𝔱𝔦𝔬𝔫𝔰, 𝔭𝔲𝔟𝔩𝔦𝔠 𝔬𝔯 𝔭𝔯𝔦𝔳𝔞𝔱𝔢. 𝔗𝔥𝔞𝔫𝔨 𝔶𝔬𝔲 𝔣𝔬𝔯 𝔟𝔢𝔦𝔫𝔤 𝔬𝔲𝔯 𝔬𝔩𝔡 𝔱𝔦𝔪𝔢𝔶 𝔭𝔞𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔰 - 𝔴𝔢'𝔩𝔩 𝔡𝔬 𝔬𝔲𝔯 𝔟𝔢𝔰𝔱 𝔱𝔬 𝔭𝔯𝔬𝔡𝔲𝔠𝔢 𝔮𝔲𝔞𝔩𝔦𝔱𝔶 𝔬𝔲𝔱𝔭𝔲𝔱; 𝔴𝔯𝔦𝔱𝔢 𝔰𝔱𝔲𝔣𝔣 𝔱𝔥𝔞𝔱 𝔦𝔰 𝔱𝔥𝔬𝔲𝔤𝔥𝔱𝔣𝔲𝔩 𝔞𝔫𝔡 𝔰𝔦𝔫𝔠𝔢𝔯𝔢. }

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