December 7, 2018

Jumana Manna
Wild Relatives
The Artist's Eye: Haig Aivazian

The Douglas Hyde Gallery

[1] Jumana Manna, Wild Relatives (still), 2018. Film. Photo: Marte Vold. Courtesy of the artist. [2] Haig Aivazian, Study for Why Should Fear Seize the Limbs Before the Warning Sounds?, 2014–2018. Courtesy of the artist.

The Douglas Hyde Gallery is proud to present Wild Relatives, a timely solo exhibition by Palestinian artist Jumana Manna that explores the ideological ground from which the contemporary global environmental crisis has sprung; alongside recent work by Lebanese artist Haig Aivazian.

Jumana Manna: Wild Relatives
Gallery 1

Continuing her exploration of archives, and in particular their complex relationship with both preservation and erasure, Jumana Manna’s Wild Relatives brings together the artist’s 2018 feature-length documentary film of the same name, and newly commissioned sculptural work. The combination of the feature-length film with new sculptural elements in this significant solo show at the DHG amplifies the urgency of the work, which makes the important link between colonial violence, the war in Syria and the degradation of our natural environment.

From the frozen wastes of Svalbard, an island in the Arctic Ocean, to the semi-arid landscape of the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, the film Wild Relatives (2018) traverses disparate geographies, political contexts and personal lives to create a series of loose links around its main protagonist: seeds. At the heart of the film is an international transaction of seeds between the Svalbard Global Seed Vault and a smaller seed genebank, relocated from Aleppo to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. With a focus on the personal lives that are enmeshed in this transaction, including those of farmers, young migrant women from Syria, a lorry driver, a priest and a scientist, the film sifts through the layers of power and personal agency that underpin global, Syrian and Lebanese agricultural policies.

Manna’s interest in the impact of power on bodies is expanded in this solo exhibition, her first in Ireland, through the series of new, commissioned sculptural works. Suggestive of both drainage systems and human limbs, these clay forms propose bodies as infrastructure in a global network—conduits for, and casualties of, power and labour flows.

This exhibition has been generously supported by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa).

We would like to thank the Irish Museum of Modern Art for their production residency, the National College of Art & Design, Lisa Young, Fire Station Artists' Studios, Mick O'Hara, and in particular ceramicist Paul Martin, for their support in the realisation of new work by Manna in Dublin.

The Artist's Eye: Haig Aivazian
Gallery 2

Acknowledging the crucial role artists play in influencing and shaping other artistic practices, "The Artist's Eye" series asks those exhibiting in Gallery 1 to invite an artist of significant influence to present work in Gallery 2. In the fifth instalment in this series, Jumana Manna has invited Haig Aivazian.

Aivazian's work, Why Should Fear Seize the Limbs Before the Warning Sounds? (2014–2018), commemorates figurative fires, appropriating symbols from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and both Gulf Wars (1990–91, 2003–11). In this exhibition, as in much of the artist’s work, the actors and witnesses of history are not human players; rather, they are comprised of the materials, architectures and practices intentionally or inadvertently constructed or destroyed by human actions.

Artist biographies

Haig Aivazian (b. 1980) is an artist and writer living in Beirut. Recent selected exhibitions include: Chiado 8, Lisbon; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (solo, 2018); Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham; Maxxi, Rome; McaM, Shanghai; Kadist, Paris (solo) (all 2017); Montréal and Marrakech Biennials (2016); Venice and Istanbul Biennials (2015).

Palestinian artist Jumana Manna (b. 1987) makes films and sculptures that explore the ways in which social, political and interpersonal forms of power interact with the human body. Recent solo exhibitions include: Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo, 2018; Mercer Union, Toronto, 2017; Chisenhale Gallery, London, 2015; Malmo Konsthall, Malmo, 2016; and Beirut Art Center, Lebanon, 2015.

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Celebrating 40 years this year, The Douglas Hyde Gallery was co-founded in 1978 by the Arts Council/An Comhairle Ealaíon and Trinity College Dublin, as both the first public gallery dedicated to contemporary art and the first university gallery in Ireland.

The Douglas Hyde Gallery is proudly supported by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and Trinity College Dublin.

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