Last skyes

Avian Imaginaries in Video Art from the Middle East
This screening program presents video works by some of the most exciting artists from the Middle East for the first time in the Netherlands. Drawing on avian imaginaries, in which birds operate as protagonists and tropes, these works comment on regional geopolitics, belonging, heritage, and history in unruly times. Disaster – manmade or other – looms darkly on the horizon. In these videos, past, present and future are muddled, human and nonhuman narratives and agency intertwine, and bird’s-eye views offer alternative perspectives: from the ruins of Pergamon, petrified museological artefacts, and aerial views of Jerusalem and Teheran, to the weaponization of spy birds and alien bird-human encounters. The videos in Last Skies offer speculative takes on contested pasts and uncertain futures in which human responsibility is continuously scrutinized. After the screening, one of the artists will join international experts on speculative fiction and people-bird relations for a panel discussion.
Featuring works by: Heba Y. Amin (As Birds Flying, 2016) Benji Boyadgian and Behzad Khosravi Noori (The Owls, The Queen and the Maquettiste, 2018), Hera Büyüktaşcıyan (Neither on the Ground, nor in the Sky, 2019), Ali Cherri (Petrified, 2016), and Sophia Al-Maria (Mothership, 2017).
The screening program is followed by a panel discussion with Ali Cherri (artist), Ben Greet (Reading University), Tasnim Qutait (SOAS), and Dan Hassler-Forrest (Utrecht University). Curated and moderated by Nat Muller (Birmingham University)
19.00–19.15 Opening
19.15–20.20 Screenings
- Benji Boyadgian and Behzad Khosravi Noori, The Owls, The Queen and the Maquettiste (2018)
- Sophia Al-Maria, Mothership (2017)
- Ali Cherri, Petrified (2016)
- Heba Y. Amin, As Birds Flying (2016)
- Hera Büyüktaşcıyan, Neither on the Ground, nor in the Sky (2019)
20.20–20.30 Break
20.30–21.30 Panel discussion with Ali Cherri, Ben Greet, Benji Boyadgian, Dan Hassler-Forrest, Nat Muller, Tasnim Qutait
Museum Volkenkunde | Grote Zaal, Steenstraat 1, 2312 BS, Leiden


2020/21 Magmart | design & development:studio tad