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Shezad Dawood: Leviathan

  • Sat, 06 Jul 2019 - Sun, 13 Oct 2019
  • 12.00 AM

6 July – 13 October 2019

Shezad Dawood’s epic film series Leviathan comes to the gallery, alongside a number of textiles and neon works. Taking inspiration from both Thomas Hobbes’ book Leviathan and the biblical sea monster of the same name, Dawood’s Leviathan follows the migratory patterns of people between Europe and Africa, who are often making the crossing as refugees. The film explores the connection between mass migration and marine conservation, in particular how the  turbulent journeys made by human migrants mirror the tumultuous ecological changes in the sea over which they travel.

This timely exhibition combines the themes of marine biology, climate change, political systems and mental health, to show how human activity and marine ecologies are intertwined.

The exhibition also features a new interactive virtual reality work which explores what the future may hold for marine biology, in a world heavily affected by climate change.

Dawood intends Leviathan to eventually consist of ten film ‘chapters’, and Bluecoat will exhibit the first five chapters in the series, making it the most complete UK presentation ofthe work to date. The presentation will also include the UK premiere of chapters four and five. The first two chapters of Leviathan premiered at Venice in conjunction with the 57th Art Biennale. The work has developed, been adapted and grown across exhibitions and screenings in Wales, Netherlands and Italy before reaching Bluecoat for this major exhibition charting Dawood’s ambitious project.

The series is slated for completion in 2020.



Leviathan Public Programme 

To accompany Shezad Dawood's Leviathan exhibition at Bluecoat, we're excited to be hosting two symposia on Wednesday 25 September and Wednesday 2 October bringing together researchers and activists whose work is connected to the themes in Dawood's project. 

Through the lens of migration, activism, biotechnology and more, their discussions will address empathy, as well as the methods and technology we may use in the future in order to adapt to our changing planet.

Empathy In and Out of Species

Wednesday 25 September | 6.30 - 8pm | Tickets £5/3

Professor Alex Balch (University of Liverpool), PhD student Samantha Hook (University of Manchester) and Jennifer Verson (Director of Migrant Artists Mutual Aid), will explore empathy in connection with human migration and our relationship with marine species.  

Click here for more info and to book.

Methods for Surviving the Future

Wednesday 2 October | 6.30pm - 8pm | Tickets £5/3

Dr. Lars Schmeink (HafenCity University Hamburg), Nicole Prandi (PhD candidate at Manchester University) and Natasha Josette (environmental and political organiser) will explore how we might adapt to the future, discussing possible life-saving algae, inclusive activism, and changing notions about what it means to be human. 

Click here for more info and to book.

Watch an interview with Shezad Dawood 

More about Shezad Dawood

Born in London, Dawood works across film, painting and sculpture to juxtapose discrete systems of language, image, site and context. His work often uses multiple narratives and involves collaborations with groups and individuals across different locations. Dawood’s work has been exhibited internationally, including the Rubin Museum of Art, New York, USA (2018); Palazzina Canonica and Fortuny Factory Venice, Italy (2017-18); the Si Shang Art Museum, Beijing (2017); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2016); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2015); Taipei Biennial, Taiwan (2014); Marrakech Biennial, Morocco (2014). Dawood is a Research Fellow in Experimental Media at the University of Westminster. He lives and works in London. 

Click here to see more from Leviathan in our online gallery



Image credit: Leviathan Legacy Trilogy Part 1 2018 Virtual Reality

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