fbpx Gaby Sahhar | CIRCA PRIZE 2023

Gaby Sahhar

Working across film, painting and installation, my work aims to deconstruct the representation of gender within public spheres to understand its wider implications on queer consciousness and communities. I am interested in dissecting the social fabric of architecture in society to understand which areas in our city allow for different LGBTQIA+ identities to develop and flourish and which areas prevent or stop the conversation from developing; Exploring this in the context of subcultural vs institution spaces, I want to create experimental environments in my film work that draw attention to the economical, physiological and categorisation barriers that form when trying to achieve stability for many queer, non-abled or poc young people living in a city like London. Furthermore I am interested in the link between migration and gender, drawing on my personal experiences of being non binary with Palestinian, French heritage. My research is shaped in understanding LGBTQIA+ representation in the UK, Western Europe vs Palestine and the wider Arab world. I examine this through the lens of interconnectedness, fragmentation and hybridity as a way of forming a new speculative way of thinking and discussing the human rights struggle associated with gender and Palestinian identity. I want my work to challenge our proximity to the war in Europe and generate conversations around our shared vulnerabilities and social bonds we have as human beings.

I am interested in finding hope in the idea of ‘collapse’ between subcultural and institutional spaces. I want to apply this logic to the global mega city structure such as London, Paris and Brussels with cities within the West Bank, Palestine and the wider Arab world. I want to use the lense of speculative fiction to produce a body of work that captures hope in abolishing borders whilst simultaneously producing positive scenes that focus on human resilience, empowerment and bodily autonomy. I want to continue my research into the concept of ‘Forbidden Architecture’ by using world building strategies and develop my language that collages scenes of Queer, Non binary experience’s with Palestinian identity. I am interested in capturing the psychological forces that work in the mind when you identify differently or outside a dominant heterosexual matrix. The LGBTQIA+ movement is one that is hopeful to me and can be used to further critical thinking.

My research will be centred on ‘Collapse’ on challenging the notion of representation and making our unconscious experiences we have in public, private spaces, a conscious one. Part one of the film will examine how gender is self expressed, represented in subcultural to institutional structures. By viewing gender as a complex architecture that is unique and constantly changing. I want to work with the language we develop around gender identity and draw out the flexibility we have within it. I want to capture the physiological process that can be a form of human resilience whilst simultaneously fragmenting the mind. The second part will focus on producing a speculative immersive environment that challenges our proximity to borders between countries, specially focusing on the Middle East, Palestine and Europe. I want to indirectly reference these spaces by reproducing them out of their context within a studio environment. Like my previous films I want to play with the idea of authority and censorship.

‘Hope’ to me is the foundation of my work. At low points in my journey as an artist I have had to rely on hope to get me through rough times within my work and my personal life, as a disabled artist hope makes me transcend myself and look forward.