Screening: 3rd i NY Presents: The Video Art of Sama Alshaibi and Ala Younis

Tue, December 13, 2011 7:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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Free and Open to the Public

Sama Alshaibi is an artist born in Basra, Iraq to an Iraqi father and Palestinian mother and is now a naturalized US citizen. Alshaibi's works evoke the language of suffering, displacement and loss. She often uses her own body as both a protaginist and a site, linking struggles and the way that nations have affected and twisted lives in bodily performances. Her auto-ethnographic approach is informed by her own history of living in war, the double negation to her familial homelands and her countless encounters with those policing borders from the undesired. An Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Arizona, Alshaibi received her M.F.A. in Photography & Video and Media Arts at the University of Colorado at Boulder. A photographer, video artist and accomplished filmmaker, Alshaibi has exhibited in over 20 countries. She is represented in Europe by Selma Feriani Gallery (London) and in the Middle East/North Africa by Lawrie Shabibi (Dubai). Recently she was accepted in the prestigious Light Work artist-residency program in 2010 (NY), exhibited her first solo in London (“Zero Sum Game”) and premiered her collaborative short dramatic film “End of September” at the Chicago Palestine Film Festival, 2010. For more information, click here.

Ala Younis is an artist and curator based in Amman. Through art, film, and publication projects, Younis investigates the position of individuals in a politically driven world, and the conditions in which historical and political failures of the collective become personal ones. She held individual shows at The Delfina Foundation, London (2010), Darat al Funun, Amman (2009) and the French Cultural Center, Amman (2004). Selected group exhibitions: 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011); Home Works 5', Beirut (2010); The Jerusalem Show (2009); PhotoCairo 4: The Long Shortcut, Cairo (2008); 12th Asian Art Biennale, Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka (2006), 17th Youth Salon, Cairo (2005). Younis’ filmography includes: Nahr el Barid (2007), Nefertiti (2008), Six Days (2009), Over Jerusalem (2009) and End of September (2009).

End of September

End of September (2010) is a magical realist short film written and directed by Sama Alshaibi and Ala’ Younis. Multiple mysteries of the past collide with the return of a Palestinian fedai to the country she thought she knew. As if an unknowing soul wandering through purgatory, Dalal journeys between time periods and planes of reality, never able to trust what constitutes the “truth” in her many confrontations. A heightened tension between the supernatural and real is paced through non-linear time, further enhancing the possibilities of what constitutes truth in the contentious histories of the
Palestinian plight.


Thowra(revolution) was produced during the winter of Arab uprising; the predictable cycling of seasons interrupted by remarkable courage, synchronization and the blood of martyrs. Graced in the colors of revolution, the perfect storm of this winter serves as a reminder of what was sacrificed for this season of change."

All I Want For Christmas

During the Christmas season in the West Bank, Palestinians apply for permission papers to enter Israel. Their wish is to see the sea. Access to all three, the Dead, Red, and Mediterranean, are annexed under Israeli control. In All I want For Christmas, a refugee camp, Dheisheh, and the Separation Wall, become symbols for the dismalness of the occupation and are juxtaposed to the serenity of the sea. Because of a Christmas “gift” from Israel, three shores are reached and celebrated in dance, the Palestinian body in freedom.

"Sweep" "Sissy" and Chicken"

Sweep (3:45), Sissy (02:35), Chicken (06:21)

Sama Alshaibi Statement: The Pessimists (2009) 

Sweep, Sissy and Chicken are videos from the multi-media project, “The Pessimists”. The work invites a contemplation of the invisible forces that police behavior of people from the Arab world. These forces are a psychic inheritance that is a mixed-blend of the familial interpretation of its religion, tribal norms and handed-down cultural superstitions. The "pessimists" stifle growth and change by planting doubt, worry and fear, gestures that often engender stagnation. The perpetuation of cultural norms relies on those policing virtue via their agents; the family and friends of one's inner circle each has a role to play. The “Pessimists” is a look at the underbelly of familial code in the Middle East, the every day actions, talk, and body language emitted from the guardians of the status quo, the nonthreatening but demoralizing attitudes dropping hints of disapproval and contempt. They mask its true source, envy, shame or fear of Occidental agendas in disguise, in cloaks of “haram” (sin) and “honor”.

The project also encompasses the representation of a yearning to break free from one’s skewed internal compass fostered by the psychic forces of pessimism. Often pessimism is so completely reinforced, its transmission is almost invisible, yet its effect is palpable and writ large across our attitudes and approach to the world. As is often the case in my artwork, the mediation occurs between the body and the external tyrannical forces that propagate fear and police my actions. My work is extension of my own confrontation with pushing through the illusion of limitations set by others whether they are real, as in the case of political borders, or imagined.

About 3rd i NY

3rd I New York’s monthly film/video/media salon is designed by local filmmakers and cultural producers to showcase the works of independent media makers of South Asian, Central Asian, and Arab descent. Providing alternative forums for these filmmakers who often have few venues to showcase their work and whose cultures and histories are often demonized or misrepresented in mainstream media, not only increases their visibility, but also provides a social forum for peers and audiences to participate in an ongoing discussion.

Our Sponsors

3rdi NY Film Programming is made possible in part by the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by NYSCA and administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Alwan for the Arts hosts our monthly screenings series. We are thankful to the SINGH Foundation for acting as our fiscal sponsor.

Last updated: 2012-01-28 11:35:19

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