Shezad Dawood, Winning Artist, Abraaj Group Art Prize 2011
New Dream Machine Project, Light sculpture (brushed steel, florescent lights, electronic motor) and 16mm film
The inspiration behind the project begins with the prototype Dream Machine by the painter Brion Gysin (1916-1986) created in the early 1960s upon his return to the UK from Morocco. Fabricated in Fez and the UK, in homage to Gysin, Dawood’s kinetic light sculpture is designed to emit kaleidoscopic light pulses similar in effect to alpha waves produced by the brain to induce states of unconsciousness.
An additional part of Dawood’s project is a concert featuring the acclaimed Bedouin Master Musicians of Jajouka, who were the house band at Gysin’s ‘1001 Nights’ restaurant, which he opened in Tangiers in 1954 with the Moroccan painter Mohamed Hamri. The concert also pays tribute to Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones’s cult album Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka (1971) made after Jones was introduced to the musicians whilst in Tangiers with Gysin and Hamri.
Contemporary British guitarist Duke Garwood plays the role of Jones, alongside the current ensemble of The Master Musicians of Jajouka, led by Bachir Attar. Built using local craftsmen, in association with the experimental art space L’appartement 22, the work makes manifest a network of cultural, seemingly chance encounters spanning time and geography.
Shezad Dawood received an MPhil in Fine Art Photography from the Royal College of Art (2000 – 3) before gaining his PhD from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2008. Dawood has a research based practise that employs many different art forms. The evolution of his work has become increasingly more interdisciplinary and collaborative, as part of a discursive interest in mapping territories through narrative intersections between history, literature and cultural appropriation.
Following his first solo show, Shezad Dawood & Friends, held at his studio in 2006, solo exhibitions of his work have been held at: Axel Lapp Projects, Berlin (2007); The Third Line, Dubai (2008); Galleria Riccardo Crespi, Milan (2008); Galerie Gabriel Rolt, Amsterdam (2009) and Aarhus Kunstbygning, Denmark (2010). He has also participated in the following group exhibitions: Empire Strikes Back: Indian Art Today, Saatchi Gallery, London; Disorientation II, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi (2009); Making Worlds, The 53rd Venice Biennale (2009); Altermodern, Tate Britain (2009); Century City, Tate Modern, London (2001) and 000zerozerozero, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1999).
Dawood’s works are in the collections of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, the Saatchi Collection and The Frank Cohen Collection in the UK. He is represented by The Third Line, Dubai; Paradise Row, London; Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai; Galleria Riccardo Crespi, Milan; and Galerie Gabriel Rolt, Amsterdam.