In dialogue with a wide range of marine biologists, oceanographers, political scientists, neurologists and trauma specialists, Dawood has been exploring some key fault lines of the present and their possible interconnections. Taking a global and collective approach, Leviathan is a reflection on where we could be if a deeper understanding of trauma and climate erosion is not found, looking at what is not only a humanitarian crisis, but a wider crisis within our biosphere.
The new series of textile paintings has been developed in dialogue with the renowned textile manufacturer Fortuny, and will incorporate several of their hand-made fabrics. Dawood has furthermore been working closely with the Labanof in Milan, an institute that conducts research on personal effects lost by migrants during sea crossings to Lampedusa, in order to help families identify missing relatives. A series of artefacts and objects from the Labanof archive will provide the visual references for the new textile works.
The paintings will be installed in the library of the Palazzina Canonica, as well as in the showroom of the Fortuny factory in the Giudecca, established in 1919 and still operational today. In addition, a large-scale outdoor neon work titled Island Pattern , developed especially for the Fortuny Factory, will be unveiled within the garden facade of the building.
The exhibition in Venice will be accompanied by a lively public programme that will bring together specialists involved in the project for a series of informal discussions akin to the philosophical agora in Ancient Greece. These discussions will also be available in digital form through the project's web platform, creating an archive aimed at scientists, researchers, students and the general public. In addition, a special film programme curated by Shezad Dawood in collaboration with streaming platform MUBI will run throughout the duration of the exhibition, with free film screenings taking place at the Palazzina Canonica.
The third film episode will be released in September 2017 and incorporated into the exhibition. Subsequent episodes will be co-commissioned and presented in partnership with a series of international venues, culminating in the presentation of all ten episodes in 2020.
The project is being developed with the support of Timothy Taylor, Outset Contemporary Art Fund, Galerie Gabriel Rolt, CREAM University of Westminster, University of Salford Art Collection with support from The Contemporary Art Society and a circle of private patrons.