This collaboration between Asmaa Jama and Gouled Ahmed explores self-portraiture, memory and the archive. The exhibition is inspired by African photography studios; places of self-expression that are at once political and historical, fictional and intimate.
Central to the exhibition is a new film commission, Except this time nothing returns from the ashes. Shot on location in Addis Ababa, the film follows the ghostly, glitchy presence of those who exist at the margins of the city. Combining poetry and music, the film explores how national canons are constructed and can be corrupted.
Stemming from the artists’ interactions with their families’ photographic collections and archives, the film opens a portal to memory, for those who otherwise would be forgotten. For both Jama and Gouled, self-portraiture becomes an act of resisting erasure, demonstrating the potential of photography and the archive to remember.
Spike Island, Bristol. 10th June - 10th September 2023
Image: Asmaa Jama, Except this time nothing comes back from the ashes (2022), production still. Courtesy the artist.