Shezad Dawood

19 September 2018
Shezad Dawood, Leviathan Cycle, Episode 1: Ben 2017 HD video, Edition 2 of 5 12 min. 52 sec
Shezad Dawood, Leviathan Cycle, Episode 1: Ben 2017 HD video, Edition 2 of 5 12 min. 52 sec

university of salford art collection

Shezad Dawood is a natural collaborator and storyteller. Working with individuals and communities he weaves together complex theories, facts, language, literary references,
and philosophical ideas to create narratives that are fantastical, yet also chillingly
plausible. His practice is broad, encompassing film, sculpture, painting, textiles, neon and
other materials that help to tell these stories.

Episode 1: Ben is the first installation of a ten-part film cycle conceived and directed by Dawood. Set in an imagined future following a cataclysmic solar event, each of the ten episodes is told from the point of view of a different character and makes new connections between significant issues of today: marine welfare, climate change,
human migration and mental health.

By working with experts from across the world, including marine biologists, oceanographers, political scientists, neurologists and trauma experts, Dawood aims to produce a major
narrative that blurs the line between fact and fiction and foretells, or forewarns our future. Episode 1: Ben sets the context. Ben, the protagonist, reminisces about his childhood when his father was a marine biologist at the Natural History Museum in London. The narrative is intertwined with his current predicament of simply surviving in a post-apocalyptic world.

Episode 1: Ben was acquired under the ‘artists film’ element of the University of Salford’s
‘About the Digital’ strand of collecting. This strand aims to reflect how artists are responding to living in the digital age – either through the use of digital technology in the making or display of the work, or through subject matter. The overarching theme of the University of Salford Art Collection is telling the ‘story of now’. It also complements existing film-based acquisitions in the collection by artists such as Cao Fei, Nick Crowe and Rachel Maclean that reference in different ways the potential breakdown of society or end of the world, and the basic human needs for survival.

Shezad Dawood (b. 1974, London, UK) lives and works in London. He trained at Central Saint Martin’s and the Royal College of Art before undertaking a PhD at Leeds Metropolitan University. Recent solo exhibitions include Rubin Museum of Art, New York (2018); Venice Biennial (2017); The Drawing Room, London (2017); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2016).

Presented by the Contemporary Art Society, 2017/18




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