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Bassam Al-Sabah, Wandering, Wandering With a Sun on My Back, 2018. Video HD, 16:40. Film still. Courtesy of the artist.

Gasworks presents the first solo exhibition in London by Belfast-based artist Bassam Al-Sabah. Working across digital animation, sculpture and textiles, Al-Sabah's work conveys intricate visions of war, resistance and perseverance.

In his work, displacement and personal mythology are explored through reference to video game culture and Japanese anime cartoons, dubbed into Arabic and broadcast throughout the Middle East since the 1980s. Featuring imagery of revolution and warfare, these programmes take on a heightened political meaning within Al-Sabah's practice, whose family exiled from Baghdad after the Iraq War. 

As a part of the generation of Arabs growing up watching these series, Al-Sabah’s work deals with an uneasy sense of collective nostalgia, resulting in an amalgamation of narratives in which fact and fiction, historical trauma and queer possibility intersect.


Bassam Al-Sabah lives and works in Belfast and Dublin. He completed a BA in Visual Art Practice from Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology in 2016, and was awarded the RHA Graduate Studio Award (2016-2017) and the Temple Bar Gallery Graduate Residency Award (2018-2019). Recent solo exhibitions include Solstice Arts Centre, Navan (2019); The LAB, Dublin (2018); and Eight Gallery, Dublin (2017). His work has been featured at Pallas Projects, Dublin; Royal Hibernian Acadamy, Dublin; Tulca 18, Galway; and Aras Eanna Arts Centre, Inisheer (all 2018).

Bassam Al-Sabah is the fifth artist to take part in the Freelands Gasworks Partnership, a programme for emerging UK artists based outside of London. Made possible thanks to a generous grant from the Freelands Foundation, the programme combines a three-month residency with a solo exhibition, commissioned by Gasworks in partnership with De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea, where a second instalment of the show will be presented later in 2021. The previous participants were Jamie CreweRachal BradleyLibita Sibungu and Lauren Gault.

Gasworks commissions are supported by Catherine Petitgas and Gasworks Exhibitions Supporters