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A Magic Realist Afrabia

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‘A Magic Realist Afrabia,’ is a series of digital prints exploring ideas on multicultural identities, hybridity, and the third space. Looking at Sudanese author Tayeb Salih’s ‘Season of Migration to the North’ for inspiration, Rayan Elnayal follows main character Mustafa’s journey from Sudan to London and his struggle with his contradicting, convoluted and evolving ethnic identity in her work. Elnayal researches and translates magic realist techniques extracted from literature, art and photography into design techniques, and combines it with information obtained from the photographic essay on the Sudanese aesthetic to build a hybrid, urban, magic realist Afrabia. 

‘A Magic Realist Afrabia’ is aimed to resonate with British Sudanese and tap into their waves of hybridity as well as appeal to all that occupy the ‘third space’, all who are migrants and have adopted new homes and therefore new identities. All Afro-Arabs, all non-westerners now living in the West, all that called for a revolution and are re-inventing their own identities.

‘A Magic Realist Afrabia,’ derived from Elnayal’s on-going and developing interest in her own hybrid British-Sudanese identity and struggles that come with it. In particular the struggle of describing the Sudanese identity to Westerners. Through her work Elnayal poses the questions: How do we begin to describe our complex ethnic backgrounds when its history is still being speculated on? How do we stress the necessity of maintaining all identities simultaneously? For Elnayal the answer is: magic realism.

 

Curator: Mishelle Brito

Artist: Rayan Elnayal

Rayan Elnayal is young British-Sudanese artist interested in multicultural hybridity. Elnayal used her masters in architecture from the University of Greenwich to re-imagine Church street in Paddington as a magic realist Afrabia. Project supervised by Rahesh Ram and Mark Garcia.

reACT is an innovative program, established by P21 Gallery & Amal (a Saïd Foundation programme) to promote and support emerging and student artists whose work is dedicated to or inspired by the Middle East & Arab world by providing a space within the P21 Gallery for an artistic intervention. ‘reACT’ aims to contribute in building and strengthening cultural ties and dialogues between the East and West on terms designed by a younger generation.

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