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Amna MalikClick here to Print this Page
Rosalind Nashashibi
As her practice develops these archipelagos become phenomenological encounters with objects that invite solitary contemplation like the reverberating patterns on a pair of seats in Juniper Set; or the armature of a pair of swings transformed into an absurdly comical presence, like a contemporary Ubu Roi, in Park Ambassador.

This shift occurs partly because of her sensibility as a painter that encourages her to consider form and pattern, the arrangement of colours and shapes in collages and prints, taken, for instance, from a fragment of a Picasso print from a book cover, to become an expanded space of reflection.

We see the results of this oscillation between the moving image and works on paper in Hreash House: a film located in the home of a Palestinian family who live in an Arab Palestinian town in Israel and are labelled as Arab Israelis although they see themselves as Palestinian. Nashashibi establishes a synchrony between dual visual economies that marks a further integration of her practice. Not only is there the coherent singular focus on one site that was so successfully explored in District of the Post Office, Midwest and Midwest: Field but now there is also a monomania that she tentatively began to explore in signs and colours in Humaniora and Blood and Fire. In Hreash House the viewer gradually is made aware of the insistent focus on elaborate decorative patterns, whether textiles or floral arrangements, or the symmetry of food being prepared. These moments build up a portrait of an almost obsessive attention to formal arrangements. These patterns echo and infiltrate another, different, structure that Nashashibi is drawn to: the network of an extended family system that creates a beehive of activity that is increasingly rare within the nuclear family unit.

This exchange between formal systems and communities of people is a strategy she is currently developing in Eyeballing. The new film is a portrait of New York that juxtaposes NYPD cops in uniform loitering outside their TriBeCa precint, and a series of faces that the viewer is encouraged to discover in Nashashibi's apartment and the urban fabric of the city. In this manner, she passes back and forth between representations of the city-state, the actual material city, and a representation of its inhabitants. By doing so, she subtly alters what might seem to be examples of an unremarkable microcosm of life, lived according to the pleasures of familiar routine. Her films become occasions for significant moments of contemplation that insert the unknown into the well-known and hence reconfigure the landscape of everyday life.

Amna Malik
Dr Amna Malik is a lecturer at the Slade School of Art. Her interests have centred on contemporary art and its engagement with debates over gendered identity and cultural differences.
Still from Juniper Set by Rosalind Nashashibi, 2004
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