Image credit: Michael Rakowitz

Date:  Friday, 12 November 2021
Time:  18:30 – doors open

18:45 – talk starts

Location:  Delfina Foundation
Tickets:  Free. Register here.
Access information:  Please refer to this page

Michael Rakowitz, Sarona Abuaker and Arsalan Mohammad discuss things that never happened but should have.

In 1969 The Beatles disbanded, dashing all hopes of a North African tour that few even knew was a possibility. Fascinated with this story, in 2010 artist Michael Rakowitz produced The Breakup, a ten-part radio series broadcast on Palestinian Radio Amwaj, which delved into the intricacies of the band’s collapse and posited it as example of a collaboration that ground to a halt amid unravelling negotiations and failed communication.

In this conversation with poet and artist Sarona Abuaker and writer Arsalan Mohammad, Michael Rakowitz will revisit the series, discussing its themes and its past and contemporary resonances. In addition to contemplating the allegorical echoes between the band’s break up and the dream of Pan Arabism, the evening will explore the current context of amnesia, myth and revisionism through the upcoming Peter Jackson documentary on The Beatles, and how it intersects with the parrhesia and truth-telling that is central to Palestinian solidarity.

The Breakup was commissioned by Al Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art in Jerusalem for The Jerusalem Show IV. 


Due to the ongoing pandemic we request all guest take a lateral flow test before attending and we recommend wearing facemasks once seated for the talk.

With artist Michael Rakowitz


Michael Rakowitz is an Iraqi-American artist living and working in Chicago. His work has appeared in venues worldwide including dOCUMENTA (13), P.S.1, MoMA, MassMOCA, Castello di Rivoli, Palais de Tokyo, the 16th Biennale of Sydney, the 10th and 14th Istanbul Biennials, Sharjah Biennial 8, Tirana Biennale, National Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt, Transmediale 05, FRONT Triennial in Cleveland, and CURRENT:LA Public Art Triennial. He has had solo projects and exhibitions with Creative Time, Tate Modern in London, The Wellin Museum of Art, MCA Chicago, Lombard Freid Gallery and Jane Lombard Gallery in New York, SITE Santa Fe, Galerie Barbara Wien in Berlin, Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago, Malmö Konsthall, Tensta Konsthall, and Kunstraum Innsbruck. He is the recipient of the 2020 Nasher Prize; the 2018 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts; a 2012 Tiffany Foundation Award; a 2008 Creative Capital Grant; a Sharjah Biennial Jury Award; a 2006 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship Grant in Architecture and Environmental Structures; the 2003 Dena Foundation Award, and the 2002 Design 21 Grand Prix from UNESCO. He was awarded the Fourth Plinth commission (2018-2020) in London’s Trafalgar Square. From 2019 – 2020, a survey of Rakowitz’s work traveled from Whitechapel Gallery in London, to Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea in Torino, to the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai.

Sarona Abuaker is a poet, artist, and educational outreach worker. She graduated with a Masters in Art and Politics from Goldsmiths, University of London. Her poems have been published in Berfrois, MAP Magazine, the87press’ Digital Poetics series, and Ludd Gang. Her essay Suture Fragmentations – A Note on Return was published by KOHL: A Journal for Body and Gender Research in its Queer Feminisms issue in December 2020. In 2021, Sarona took part in Notes on Radical Inclusivity, Diaspora, and Poetry, a roundtable discussion and online poetry showcase co-curated by the87press and Camden Art Centre. Sarona’s debut poetry collection, Why so few women on the street at night, was published by the87press in November 2021. The collection is a queer phenomenology of collective Palestinian futurisms and memory building, utilising mixed media such as visual cultures, essays and poems, to approach territories as different as Turtle Island, Brockley and Palestine.

Arsalan Mohammad is an arts writer, author, podcast producer and currently, Editor at auction house Sotheby’s. Having lived in Dubai, Berlin and London over the last couple of decades, he has been immersed in the cultural landscape of each, while retaining a manic obsession with The Beatles. His favourite Beatles album is currently The White Album. As well as being an editor and writer, Arsalan has worked as a podcast producer for the likes of Taschen, The Spectator and runs his own podcast “David Bowie: Albumtoalbum”, an occasional series, which has interviewed fans, collaborators and friends of the late superstar – including Michael Rakowitz.