Manal Mahamid: Lines of Flight

Saturday 27 April – Saturday 1 June 2024
Manal Mahamid: Lines of Flight | Saturday 27 April – Saturday 1 June 2024 | GOMA Gallery of Modern Art | Image: totally black background; on it is an almost-mirrored image of a bird-like creature which seems to have been assembled from another bird and other animals – for example, the tail looks more like a horses fetlock and hoof; the two ’birds’ are facing each other, beaks high, wings spread behind them; below the birds is writing in Arabic, itself overwritten by decorative swirls

In Lines of Flight Manal engages deeply with the intricate landscapes of mapping, navigation, and the transcendence of imposed borders, underpinned by the philosophical framework of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s concept of a line of flight or escape. This exhibition, set against the historical backdrop of Waterford, embarks on a poignant exploration of ecology, colonialism, and an enduring quest for belonging, drawing particular inspiration from the resilient spirit of Palestine and the stark realities faced by its people, especially in the context of the current war in Gaza.

At the heart of Lines of Flight is the metaphorical and literal journey of survival and adaptation, inspired by the remarkable navigational senses of animals and paralleled by the struggles of the Palestinian people. Their quest mirrors the line of flight’s multifaceted nature—not merely an act of fleeing but a transformative escape, flowing like water, leaking through cracks of oppression, and disappearing into the distance toward a hopeful vanishing point. This concept resonates with the current and historical experiences of Palestinians, who navigate a labyrinth of borders, checkpoints, and barriers in their perpetual search for a way back to their ancestral homes, embodying the essence of change and adaptability in the face of sociological, political, and psychological upheavals.

The fillm moves between the landscapes of Palestine and Ireland, drawing parallels between their rugged terrains and shared histories of displacement. Filmed against the backdrop of the current war in Gaza, this narrative weaves a visual tapestry of resilience, shared suffering, and the universal search for belonging. Through this, the exhibition not only bridges geographical divides but also serves as a resonant call for understanding and solidarity.

In an evocative extension of this narrative, the exhibition transcends into another realm of the Palestinian experience, where the creature takes flight over the apartheid wall, embodying the ultimate line of flight in its most literal and metaphorical sense. As it soars above and penetrates the fragmented Palestinian landscape, the creature disregards the military barriers and checkpoints that fragment the land, boldly declaring the dissolution of borders. This act of defiance and liberation encapsulates the exhibition’s core message: in the face of imposing barriers and divisive forces, there exists a spirit of resilience and a desire for unity that can transcend even the most entrenched divides.

Lines of Flight is an invitation to embark on a reflective journey that contemplates the impact of colonialism, the ecological and sociopolitical interconnections across borders, and the profound sense of home guiding us through life’s tumultuous passages. This exhibition stands as a heartfelt tribute to those navigating the harsh realities of displacement, inspired by the indomitable spirit found in nature’s most extraordinary navigators and the resilient people of Palestine and Gaza, as they forge their lines of flight in search of peace and a place to call home.

Curated by Jenna Whelan.

Saturday 27 April – Saturday 1 June 2024
GOMA Gallery of Modern Art
6 Lombard Street
Telephone: +353 871961923
Opening hours / start times:
Open Tuesday to Saturday 12 noon – 5pm
Admission / price: Free

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