Hey, I’m Hamza welcome to my studio. I’m a self-taught multimedia artist and researcher. I’m an able-bodied male-conditioned, postcolonial person. My work is informed by continuous conversations with the people I love as much as any reading, listening and observing.
I’m using this residency to resume an investigation I started some time ago (before getting distracted by another project). Mark of My Departure (MOMD) is preoccupied with the South Asian diasporic experience. The centerpiece of the work is a 7 minute visual collage set to an original composition.
I will use the time afforded to me in the residency to continue the collection and tessellation of related postcolonial images and ideas. I am aiming to produce a supporting body of work so that the video is held within an expanded context.
When you step into my studio, you should smell my aunties homemade garam masala slowly infusing into fried onions on the stovetop. Poke around the work you find and if you have any questions or comments do not hesitate to leave them in the comments section.
these are my two grandfathers surveying each other
my grandmother and her best friend
MADE THE SYAHI
Using the image of the chopped down tree stumps, I fashioned the syahi for these tabla’d images, making the symbol of dislocation the central point of attention. Reversing the process from the previous studies, trying to be more direct in the tabla reference and combing through the family pictures. This process has reminded me that so much of this work is about building an archive for/of the family that reconnects the ancestral lineage severed by dislocation.
these studies are produced by pushing family photos into images of chopped trees < these trees are located in the Harz Mountains in Germany where the bark beetle has destroyed local forests < amongst the decay and disease wild flowers and grasses < growback >
< the bark beetle is a kind of predatory invader to the forest < “nature” has its own forms of violent destruction < reoccupation of habitat < re-inscription of its role < colonialism >
< normally a tree would be able to ward off the beetle by producing its own resin < but increased heat and drought have weakened this defense < many trees are dying < many trees are being chopped down < chopping >
< roots in the ground remain as the wood is chopped and moved elsewhere> < chopping >
< the stump is a sign of this dislocation < a mark of my departure >
< the stump becomes the image of the tabla face < except it misses the syahi < the syahi is the blackened tuning paste in the center of the drum < the syahi is the pupil of the eye > < in the iris >
< in the iris < my father and his brothers < my grandfather alone < the generational split that I never knew < their relationship with the looking lens < the brothers facing the eye of the camera < the father lost in his work < neither looking at each other < both brothers and father >
< in my eyes >
< in my eyes < as I walk>
< at the rhythm and pace of a tabla>
< through the dying forest < and mystifying growback >
…the first musical instrument I remember touching was
[ the tabla in my uncle’s home ]
this pair of beating eyes, bringing life
the touch of taut skin
sentences of sound
there is no more desperate path out
(of dislocation out)
than my divine desire to crop my fingers
fold them into pegs
to fling and to follow
to play play play
Un-tabla’d as I am, I dedicate my sound to learning about the music in me that already knows the rhythm of the tabla. This is the first section of Mark of My Departure. Speaking over the tabla loop here felt liberating. The image of the tabla is currently in my mind and everywhere around me all the time.
if you got the rhythm I can go with precision i can flow with the feeling of the water i can drop unexpected, drop like the t’s in the native speech it’s sorta sorta slick with these thick lips flip syllables to spit am from L D N but you can find me in the kiez by canal in the sun, in the rain, in the hail my friend all praise due all praise due all praise due Allah if i wanna manifest a blessing, my head be pressing the musallah
this language I hate it the colonisers tongue – not very fun this language I love it, it’s the only one – well I guess that’s done
i can flow with the feeling of the water cut through the border what you gonna do with this bricks and mortar when the sea-levels rise hoarder that’s me though too much stuff who come rough round the edges and bluffs i can float in the cushioning clouds, pushing them bounds kush and a crown