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AP1 research: Emii Alrai The Courtship of Giants

Visit to Eastside Projects latest exhibition The Courtship of Giants by sculptural and installation based artist Emii Alrai. Connection between museological dioramas,

Exhibition references:

  • the capture and coveting of giant artefacts from Iraq - colonisation of archives

  • medieval hunting arenas

  • ancient gravesite constructions

  • arrows and how wounds have been romanticised by the Pre-Raphaelites - link to melancholy

What was immediately noticeable upon entering the exhibition was the scent of the materials - this played really well in creating the gallery into a new space that fell in a way out of time. The entire gallery floor was transformed into a maze like structure by creating temporary walls - allows the exhibition to be more engaging and experiential - physically effect how viewers engage with space - makes space otherworldly. Dead ends link to ideas of entrapping - while walls used traditional weaving techniques - links back to the artists heritage and nostalgia.

Work also functions as a critique on the museum format and the issues regarding collecting. The arrows punching through the sculptures serves as a reference to the 'romanticised violence of the museum' relating to the history of conflict and colonialism (Eastside Projects, 2022)

I enjoy how the artworks are presented as artefacts - gives the work a sense of higher value and mystery - this would be something I'd be interested in including within my own work

Emii Alrai’s practice is informed by inherited nostalgia, geographical identity and post-colonial museum practices of collecting and displaying objects. Focusing on the ancient mythologies from the Middle East alongside personal oral histories of Iraq, the artist weaves together narratives by forging artefacts and visualising residues of cultural collision. Often working at large scale she creates sculptural installations that recall museological displays and dioramas (Eastside Projects, 2022).

Useful reference in terms of production of sculptures, the materials used - technical processes as well as the curation and use of metal supports. The play with scale is also very exciting and inspiring - it is made possible through the use of materials - having a base of polystyrene which is coated in other heavier materials like plaster and sand which have been painted with oxides to create the illusion of a solid natural stone material. This is a process which I could incorporate into my own work - with having an interest in concrete sculpture but wanting to make larger scale works - making use of polystyrene as a base will be a good way of overcoming the


Eastside Projects. 2022. Emii Alrai The Courtship of Giants. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 12 March 2022].


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