Rosalind Nashashibi’s Electrical Gaza includes footage of Gaza the artist shot with her film crew, drivers, and translator, along with animated scenes. Gaza is shown in the quiet moments before the Israeli bombardment in the summer of 2014.
Nashashibi’s mediation eschews images of extreme violence and suffering global audiences have come to associate with Gaza, as well as sentimentalized imagery. Instead, the artist films daily life. Scenes of boys and horses cooling down in the Mediterranean, of vibrant streets filmed from the back of a moving car, and of a young man spreading falafel over bread are interspersed with animations of the alleys, the border crossing, and the coast. The film indicates both the richness of Gazan life and its hostile enclosure.
In her reflections on the history and the making of the film, Nashashibi compares the state of existence in Gaza to enchantment, as in, “under a spell; because it exists, it existed, isolated by the world and on a different plane of reality to everything that surrounded it.” Enchantment, as the film suggests, accounts for the particular marking of time, experience, and memory in Gaza. These cultivations also emerge as the enchanted object of settler-colonial violence. The film, however, does not end with the image of an animated and ever-expanding black hole, but cuts to an image of children swimming in the sea. The abrupt shift upsets the death-driven narrative of erasure so many viewers will have come to expect. Throughout the viewing experience, we struggle as we confront those deep-seated narratives and reconsider our roles as watchers and witnesses. You can view the film here (password: 31£C74!CV16V%V-40$1£).
Rosalind Nashashibi (b. 1973 in Croydon, UK) received her BA in Painting from Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield (UK) in 1995, after which she attended the Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow (UK) where she received her MFA in 2000. As part of her Master’s degree, Nashashibi participated in a three-month exchange program in Valencia, California (US) at CalArts in 2000. Nashashibi became the first artist in residence at the National Gallery in London (UK), after the program was re-established in 2020. She was a Turner Prize nominee in 2017, and represented Scotland in the 52nd Venice Biennale. Her work has been included in Documenta 14, Manifesta 7, the Nordic Triennial, and Sharjah 10. She was the first woman to win the Beck’s Futures prize in 2003.
Nashashibi has had solo exhibitions at venues including, Nottingham Contemporary (UK); Musée Art Contemporain Carré d’Art, Nîmes (FR); Radvila Palace Museum of Art, Vilnius (LT); S.M.A.K., Ghent (BE); The High Line, New York, NY (US); Tate Britain, London (UK); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (UK); The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (US); Imperial War Museum, London (UK); and ICA, London (UK). Nashashibi has participated in group exhibitions at, Centre Georges Pompidou and Forum des Images, Paris (FR); Tate, London (UK); Sculpture Center, New York, NY (US); Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (MX); Whitechapel, London (UK); Kunstverein, Frankfurt am Main (DE); UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (US), among others.