BRENT BIENNIAL BILLBOARDS
2022. public art, four billboards
(misunderstanding), (accommodation), (performance), (loss), Brent Biennial 2022, In the House of my Love, in partnership with Build Hollywood and Studio Voltaire. produced by Metroland Cultures.
multiple sites, Willesden and Clapham
8-1 July: Walm Lane, Willesden Green
11-17 July: Dudden Hill Lane, Willesden Green
18-24 July: Clapham High St/Gauden Rd
25-31 July: Clapham High St
Artist Sadia Pineda Hameed presents four billboard artworks as part of her commissions, featuring interconnected conversations that bring together moments of recognition and rupture between languages, cultures and generations. An experiment in hybridisation as a strategy for home-making, the artist presents four iterations of a hybrid language, by writing Tagalog phrases phonetically in Urdu script. This play between languages is activated anew with each reader, creating moments of slippage and familiarity, a space for connection and learning.
Two iterations of the work simultaneously dislocate and conjoin two vital sites for the artist: the Señora de Gracia Church in Makati, Manila, based at the top of the hill where her mother grew up; and the Lahore Fort in Pakistan, which was the logo of her father’s restaurant Lahore Kebab House of East London, Kingsbury from 1992-2010.
The buses, which are combined together in two of the works, find further points of intercultural connection between the Pakistani 'jingle truck' and a Filipino ‘jeepney’. Both remained in the respective countries following British and American military operations, and are now decorated as a distinct artfrom, and used for public transport. The buses are hybrid spaces, connected through generations and separation, that adapt, mask, perform, hide and rewrite parts of themselves and their histories.
Invoking the potentiality of misunderstanding, the feeling of home amongst loss, the power of enactment and the relinquishing of the desire to know, these works playfully unravel beyond the grasps of singularity.
- Eliel Jones
Thanks to artists/friends Beau W Beakhouse, Okui Lala, Alfred Marasigan, Nora Selmani, Deborah Fecadu, Jasmine Hanciles and Sura Fawzi for the conversations.
Hello how are you?
Good thanks. And you?
Good too. What’s your name?
My name is Sadia Pineda Hameed.
Do you speak Tagalog or Urdu?
I don’t understand.
Mabuti salamat. Ikaw?
Mabuti naman. Anong pangalan mo?
Ako si Sadia Pineda Hameed.
Nagsasalita ka ba ng Tagalog o Urdu?
Hindi ko naiintindihan.
I am trying to accommodate you.
This language is unlivable.
It moves, you mean?
It moulds around you in the shape of a shell.
Sinusubukan kong paunlakan ka.
Kay hirap manahan sa wikang ito.
Ibig mong sabihin, gumagalaw ito?
Niyayakap ka nito sa hulma ng isang kabibe.
You are improving.
I am performing proficiency for you.
A performance of diaspora (disintegration, ruin)
I am impossibly many, yet not enough to be one.
Nagpapanggap akong sanay para sa iyo.
Isang dula ng pagkaguho.
Ako ay marami, ngunit hindi ako sapat upang maging isa.
Maging marami pa.
You say it will come back to me, but I don't think it will.
I am sorry for your loss.
May no loss fall upon you. May this not touch you in the same way.
Sabi mo babalik sa akin pero sa palagay ko hindi na.
Nawa’y walang mawala sayo. Nawa’y hindi ka kailanman mawalan nang ganito.
Images: Thierry Bal