Rand Abdul Jabbar - Every Act of Recognition Alters What Survives Talk


“Home, no matter how far away we drift, remains in our heart through its memories, both bitter and sweet…….This thin line, however thin, is strong and stable and, in god’s will, won’t break.” Entissar Hajali

Sited online and in Chelsea Physic Garden, London’s oldest botanical gardens, Every Act of Recognition Alters What Survives is a dynamic, episodic work by Rand Abdul Jabbar, a multi-disciplinary artist born in Baghdad and now living in Abu Dhabi.

Consisting of a series of sculptural interventions, performances and a digital archive, the work emerged from a participatory process in which women of the Iraqi and Arab diaspora in London engaged in conversation around the role of memory in relation to place and history. 

Sensitively positioned in the four-acre atmospheric garden grounds close to the Thames, three sculptural interventions are set in dialogue with the wide range of plants from across the world, symbolic for the artist because of their resonance with themes of migration and dispersion. They create focal points for contemplation and reflection. 

The fourth intervention ‘The Garden Scene’ is a re-imagining of the relief of Queen Libbali-Sharrat’s Gardens at Ninevah, currently in the British Museum.  The original relief depicts King Ashurbanipal within the predominantly feminine space of the palace. Composed of botanical specimens symbolising his vast geographic reign, it suggests nature’s divine endorsement as represented in the feminine form. The artist’s sculptural response, made to the same size as the original, conveys the collective experience shared by the group of women who are undertaking the journey of Every Act of Recognition Alters What Survives together.

Every Act of Recognition Alters What Survives evokes memory’s transportative power to defy boundaries of space and time and their capacity to connect with cherished experiences from distant times and places in the present moment.

Join the artist Rand Abdul Jabbar for an online conversation with curator Salma Tuqan reflecting on the origin and distinctive evolution of the works.



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