Shezad Dawood: Towards the Possible Film

4 April - 25 May 2014

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. Shezad Dawood: Towards the Possible Film comprises a group of 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 will have its UK premiere at Parasol unit.

Dawood’s forms of expression seem to operate somewhere between the real and the surreal. But, on further examination, the dichotomy clearly provides a creative tool that allows the artist to examine fundamental questions of being and their significance to humanity. 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 the creation of some extraordinary episodes and narratives in his films, in which seemingly otherworldly figures are often the protagonists.

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. The region’s history and the many wars fought in the 1950s and 60s between Spain, Morocco and the independent Saharan tribes were certainly a source of inspiration for Dawood. In contrast, A Mystery Play, 2010, was filmed in a monumental and elaborate, early twentieth-century, Masonic building in Winnipeg, Canada. The film is inspired not only by Masonic rituals, but also by the town’s history of having an extensive culture of performance and burlesque, in particular for performances by Buster Keaton and Harry Houdini.

Dawood’s light sculptures on show 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 is accompanied by a full-colour publication that includes an essay by Oliver Basciano, the transcript of a panel discussion, and an interview with the artist. The exhibition is curated by Ziba Ardalan, Founder/Director, Parasol unit.


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.