Two exhibitions in London launch a new research and commissioning platform initiative on performance art.

Mohammed Kazem, Photographs with a Flag, 1997. Courtesy of Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde and the artist.

Delfina Foundation is pleased to announce two exhibitions to launch Staging Histories, a new research and commissioning platform for performance art. Through archival research and new commissions, Staging Histories traces seminal moments of performance, mapping shared histories and contemporary global concerns. This first stage of the project explores performance art from, and in relation to, the Arab region. The exhibitions at Delfina Foundation and Hayward Gallery Project Space aim to open up different lines of enquiry for further research and future iterations of this long-term curatorial project.

Echoes & Reverberations
23 June – 16 August 2015
Hayward Gallery Project Space
Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road
London SE1 8XX

This exhibition examines aural culture and oral history through the work of six contemporary artists. Using a variety of media, the artists explore the evocative potential of different sounds – such as field recordings, hymns and story-telling – as well as their ability to both conjure and challenge cultural memory,  and connect the past to the present. Sound becomes a medium for performing history and, in turn, listening a performative act.

Artists include: Jumana Emil Abboud, Anas Al-Shaikh, Basma Alsharif,  Samah Hijawi, Magdi Mostafa, and Joe Namy.

The exhibition is accompanied by a programme of newly commissioned performances, which will take place on Saturday 18 July 2015, 2-6pm at The Front Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre. See website for further details.

Echoes & Reverberations is co-curated by Aaron Cezar, Director, Delfina Foundation and Cliff Lauson, Curator, Hayward Gallery, with Jane Scarth, Residency and Projects Manager, Delfina Foundation, and Eimear Martin and Dominik Czechowski, Assistant Curators, Hayward Gallery.

A collaboration between Hayward Gallery, Delfina Foundation, the Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah and Shubbak.

Part of Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture, 11-26 July 2015.

A Prologue to the Past and Present State of Things
2 July – 15 August 2015
Delfina Foundation 

This major group exhibition explores performance as a form of recording and re-writing history. It presents a constellation of key performative works, photographs, video documentation and archival materials from the last three decades. The thematic connections cross the Arab world but relate to global politics, economics and cultural shifts. The selected artworks can therefore be understood as a preface, consequence or echo of major developments during this period.

Participants include Doa Aly, ARC:HIVE, Marwa Arsanios, Coco Fusco, Mona Hatoum, Sharon Hayes, Emily Jacir, Mohammed Kazem, Xiao Lu, Hassan Sharif, Wael Shawky, Sharif Waked, and Lin Yilin, amongst others.

A Prologue to the Past and Present State of Thingsis curated by Aaron Cezar, Director, Delfina Foundation with contributions from Ala’ Younis and Barrak Alzaid (curatorial fellows, Staging Histories) and Jane Scarth, Residency and Projects Manager, Delfina Foundation.

Co-commissioned by Delfina Foundation and Shubbak with the support of British Council, Video Data Bank, and Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde.

An online catalogue for both exhibitions is being produced in collaboration with Ibraaz Platform 009, which addresses the genealogies of performance art in North Africa and the Middle East. The e-readers include contributions from those involved in the project as well as Anthony Downey, Rayya Badran, Dr. Alexandra MacGilp, and Bassam Sulayman, amongst others. Please visit

Staging Histories is largely funded through Art Basel Crowdfunding Initiative.  Additional residency support was provided by A. M. Qattan Foundation and Delfina’s family of individual supporters.