Lawrence Abu Hamdan @Spike Island

Discover Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s latest exhibition of 45th Parallel at Spike Island in Bristol.

In 45th Parallel, Lawrence Abu Hamdan investigates the history and mythology of the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, a unique municipal site that straddles the border between Canada and the United States. Set in this geographical and political grey-zone, acclaimed filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel performs a five-part monologue that recounts stories of permeable borders and impermeable laws.

Appearing in the film and hanging in the gallery are two hand-painted theatrical backdrops. The first references a 1920 painting by artist Richard Carline of an aerial view of Damascus, a seemingly objective perspective that today signals the surveillance of satellites and military drones. The second depicts a concrete culvert that adjoins Mexico and the United States, which was the site of an infamous cross-border shooting that revealed the arbitrary application and abrogation of legal rights.

This is the UK premier of his new film that was commissioned by Spike Island at the Toronto Biennial, part of Artist First, a Mercer Union commissioning platform. 45th Parallel is open until January 29, 2023. Don’t miss it!

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