Jananne Al-Ani is a London-based, Iraqi-born artist working with photography, film and video. Her practice is concerned with the power of testimony, representations of landscapes marked by conflict, and the legacy of British power and influence globally.
In Timelines, an ambitious new moving image work, Al-Ani reveals a micro landscape in the surface of a highly decorated brass tray that originated in Iraq and is now held in the V&A Collection. The tray is said to depict events on Armistice Day, 1918, in the Iraqi town of al-Hindiyyah. World War 1 biplanes fly over the river Euphrates which cuts across the centre of the tray, crowds of highly stylised Arab men and women and British soldiers in uniform are shown from a bird’s eye view on either side of the river. Using ultra close-up photographs of the engraved surface and computer animation, Al-Ani transforms the flattened perspective of the scene into a vast and varied landscape.
Alongside this visual journey, a distinctive voice emerges - the artist draws upon interviews with her mother, recalling personal experiences of growing up in Britain as the child of Irish immigrants and living in Iraq through intense social and political change. Her mother’s memories move between these contexts, creating a layered narrative where multiple timelines intersect and overlap.
Timelines is presented across a large-scale curved screen creating an immersive environment in which to encounter these stories.
Co-commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella and Towner Eastbourne with Art Fund support through the Moving Image Fund for Museums.
Presented alongside Bringing to Light: Jananne Al-Ani curates the Towner Collection, 12 February to 22 May 2022.
If you are visiting the exhibition, you can download below a large print copy of the label text and a transcription for Jananne Al-Ani: Timelines.
You can also access the printed Large Print Guide and Transcript in the gallery by asking a member of staff at the exhibition entrance.