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Bassam Al-Sabah, Wandering, Wandering With a Sun on My Back, 2018. Video HD, 16:40. Film still. Courtesy of the artist.

Bassam Al-Sabah, Dissolving Beyond The Worm Moon, 2019. Installation view, Solstice Arts Centre. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Paul Gaffney.

Bassam Al-Sabah, Eventually Void, 2019. CGI Video on CRT monitors. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Ros Kavanagh.

Bassam Al-Sabah, Wandering, Wandering With a Sun on My Back, 2018. Video HD, 16:40. Film still. Courtesy of the artist.

Bassam Al-Sabah works across video, painting, sculpture and printed matter to convey visions of war, resistance and perseverance. Themes such as displacement, nostalgia and personal mythology are explored through reference to Japanese anime series which were dubbed into Arabic and broadcast throughout the Middle East from the 1980s to today. Many of the programmes featured imagery of revolution, war and exile, and within Al-Sabah’s practice gain a heightened political meaning. Successive generations of Arabs have grown up with these anime series and Al-Sabah’s work deals with a feeling of collective nostalgia that they produce, an amalgamation of various narratives both false and true that have collapsed into each other causing the sensation of falsified memory and trauma. 

During the residency, Al-Sabah will begin production on a new CG animation film that is developed out of his interest in video game environments and the ways in which narrative is presented in games, specifically through cut scenes and player-character development.

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Bassam Al-Sabah lives and works in Belfast and Dublin. He gained a BA in Visual Art Practice from Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology in 2016 and was awarded the RHA Graduate Studio Award (2016-2017) and the Temple Bar Gallery + Studios Graduate Residency Award (2018-2019). Recent solo exhibitions include; Dissolving Beyond The Worm Moon, Solstice Arts Centre, Navan (2019); Illusions of Love Dyed by Sunset, The LAB, Dublin (2018); and The dust carried me into the watchful summer, Eight Gallery, Dublin (2017). Recent group exhibitions include; Pallas Periodical Review, Pallas Projects, Dublin; Futures, Series 3, Episode 2, Royal Hibernian Acadamy, Dublin; Syntonic State, Tulca 18, Galway; and Drop Everything, Aras Eanna Arts Centre, Inisheer (all 2018).

Bassam Al-Sabah is the fifth artist to take part in the Freelands Gasworks Partnership, a programme for emerging UK artists based outside of London. Made possible thanks to a generous grant from the Freelands Foundation, the programme combines a three-month residency with a solo exhibition and series of public events at Gasworks. In mid-2021 the exhibition will travel to De La Warr Pavilion. The previous participants were Jamie CreweRachal Bradley, Libita Clayton and Lauren Gault.