Letter from Glasgow: ELECTION SPECIAL
Turning on the news in the kitchen each morning is a conscious relinquishing of night time preoccupations. I turn on the radio and I give myself up to the confident commentators as fully as I gave ear to my dreams. I can’t claim that this switch of medium is too jarring, for I grew up in it. Political commentary is the family business. Click to read more
An extended interruption
I would like to invite you to help create a collective film.
A second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic is causing governments to introduce lockdowns again. I feel my horizons simultaneously shrink to the size of my neighbourhood, and expand as my thoughts and dreams are filled with events far away. On Saturday night I wished I were dancing in the street in New York or Philadelphia. Instead I raised a glass with my next
door neighbours over the garden wall, which was also a delight. Click to read more
The film, titled How does one say ‘queen’ in Islam invokes formative childhood memories in a surreal surrender of self to unrecognised forces of time and space. I begin with decisive women who have moulded my own surroundings and memories but, more broadly, I am concerned with how women have acquired agency and control tactically, by working against social hierarchies and, personally, I revisit those times when, during my childhood, women mould, change, even police, society. I imagine the archetypical ‘auntie next door’ whose business is everyone else’s, and the role she plays in the lives around her which is amplified through a larger context. Although her power is marginal, multiplied it becomes very real.
The film unravels imaginary, familiar, yet unplaceable terrains, that are marked by symbols of friendship and care that subvert the rigid structures of the patriarchy. In the wanderings of her dream, a young girl encounters those women who have fought for and formed her. Her language and mother tongue, synonymous with safety, drift her to sleep, as two different generations sing lullabies of remembrance. Throughout this film, I place importance on women whom I recognise as reckoning forces; women who have changed the course of how and whom attains knowledge and who will continue to do so. Women who can fight in battles, who rule nations, and who can shapefutures. They all come alive in imagination, walking on the quilt of today’s resistance. Mothers, grandmothers, daughters sitting, their hands raised against oppression.
Voilà plus de 10 jours que je ne suis pas sortie. L’aventure intérieure se poursuit. Je collecte les images des habitants disparus que je trouve dans les tiroirs des vieilles commodes poussiéreuses. J’organise de petits autels sauvages, pour honorer leur mémoire. Le soir, ils m’accueillent dans leur salon pour quelques heures de danse. Nous serons dehors dans cinq jours. J’aimerais pouvoir rester ici.
Si loin, si près. Magadan, Sibérie.
Elle s’appelait Khayoutina mais ce n’était pas son nom. Depuis 2016, elle n’est plus de ce monde, elle n’y avait jamais trouvé sa place. Je l’ai rencontrée en 2004 aux confins des terres polaires habitées, dans la petite ville ouvrière de Ola, à 20 kilomètres de Magadan, capitale de la Kolyma, et 10 000 kilomètres de Moscou. Nous avons passé une journée ensemble à causer, fumer, boire du thé et grignoter les biscuits que j’avais apportés. Click to read more