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Shezad Dawood: Towards the Possible Film4 April - 25 May 2014

Towards the Possible Film

Shezad Dawood, ‘Towards the Possible Film’ (production still), 2014. Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, Delfina Foundation and in association with Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art

A Mystery Play

Shezad Dawood: ‘A Mystery Play’, (production still), 2010. Super 16 mm transferred to HD, 15 minutes. Commissioned by Plug In ICA, Winnipeg. Courtesy of LUX, London.


Shezad Dawood: ‘Mên-an-Tol’ (detail), 2013. Acrylic on vintage textile, 200 x 274 cm. Courtesy Paradise Row, London


Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art is delighted to present a solo exhibition of work by artist Shezad Dawood, from 4 April to 25 May 2014. This exhibition, Shezad Dawood’s first solo show in a London institution, comprises recently executed light sculptures, an installation of large-scale paintings on textile, and two films, one of which, Towards the Possible Film, gives its title to the exhibition and is having its UK premiere here at Parasol unit.

Dawood’s forms of expression operate somewhere between the real and the surreal. On further examination, it is clear this dichotomy is a creative tool that allows the artist to examine some fundamental questions of being. Many of Dawood’s questions and investigations are rooted in his own cultural heritage, life experience, and a deep desire to encourage communication between different cultures, people, and even the past and future. His extensive travels and research, together with his deep interest in the fantastical, unusual and speculative, all vitally inform his ever-evolving imagination and feed into some extraordinary episodes and narratives in his films.

Towards the Possible Film, 2014, was shot at Legzira beach in Sidi Ifni, Morocco. In a landscape that could well be an alien planet, otherworldly figures appear as if to threaten the peace. Dawood found a deep source of inspiration in the region’s history and the many wars fought in the 1950s and ’60s between Spain, Morocco and the independent Saharan tribes. In contrast, A Mystery Play, 2010, was filmed in a monumental and elaborate, early twentieth-century, Masonic building in Winnipeg, Canada. This film is inspired not only by Masonic rituals, but also by the town’s history, renowned for its extensive culture of performance and burlesque, in particular the shows of Buster Keaton and Harry Houdini.

Dawood’s light sculptures at Parasol unit stem from his interest in mysticism. For example, The Black Sun, 2010, an ultra-daylight, white-neon circle, is essentially concerned with the mystical transformation of the self as represented by the allegory of the eclipse and the notion of the dark night of the soul. While his installation of large-scale paintings on textiles, that were stitched during the 1970s by women in Pakistan, creates a dialogue between two worlds and two realities, both past and present.

The Shezad Dawood: Towards the Possible Film exhibition, curated by Ziba Ardalan, Founder/Director, Parasol unit, is accompanied by a full-colour publication that includes an essay by Oliver Basciano, the transcript of a round-table discussion, and an interview with the artist.

Read the full press release.

Towards the Possible Film, 2014, by Shezad Dawood, was commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella and Delfina Foundation, in partnership with Leeds Art Gallery, Paradise Row, Art Dubai Projects, Witte de With, Marrakech Biennale, British Council, University of Westminster, Chemould Prescott Road, Galerie Gabriel Rolt, Dar Al-Ma’mûn, and in association with Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art. Developed in close partnership with Dabateatr, Rabat. Film and Video Umbrella is supported by Arts Council England.

Parasol unit is grateful for the generous support of Dr. Mohamed Hisham el Sherif, Delfina Foundation, Film and Video Umbrella and Op. 50.


Dawood is a rising star with a unique aesthetic...Don’t miss this opportunity to catch this show whilst you can.

Culture Whisper

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...the artist possesses a unique capacity for provoking in the viewer a sense of both familiarity and strangeness.

The Positive

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