asmaa al-issa: bab el-soosa | باب السوسة

June 26 - October 15, 2023

“Red water and red sun dissolve behind green branches, the earth moist with water from the shore, you hear its joy between your footsteps, perfumed air surrounds you, a bed of fronds and reed await you, you are the tired guest arriving, a carpet of grass spread under your feet…”

Excerpt from “Before Basra’s Ruin: Biography of water and date palms” by Taleb Abdul-Aziz. Rough translation by asmaa al-issa.

In bab el-soosa | باب السوسة , al-issa pursues a method of mapping borrowed memories and stories she has acquired from a land known and claimed, but one she will never inherit.

Standing attentive, here, on the land at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers, al-issa confines herself to the resources at hand as she generates physical artifacts reminiscent of a distant place. Using her limited knowledge of her first language, she translates texts, stories, and impressions in the quest to map and rehabilitate her sense of the prized elements of a land once characterised by fertility and abundance. By meandering through histories and lived experiences, bab el-soosa | باب السوسة seeks guidance from the past in order to imagine a revived future.

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