Hagar and the Angel

This page contains text produced by Madeleine Campbell and Birthe Jorgensen from the Jetties project, written for various events related to the work we are developing.

Jetties is an ongoing cross disciplinary collaboration between Writer Madeleine Campbell, Sonic Artist Bethan Parkes, Visual Artist Birthe Jorgensen, Dancer Laura Gonzalez and Dancer Marta Masiero.

Their collaboration is based on experiments with staging translations of poetry and prose by the Algerian Author Mohammed Dib (1920–2003) across languages as well as disciplines.

Born in Tlemcen, Algeria, Mohammed Dib (1920-2003) is widely regarded as a founding father of Algerian literature. Expelled from Algeria in 1959, he has always written in French. Sources that have informed Dib’s writing range from pre-Islamic Odes and twelfth-century ‘Attār Neyshābouri’s Conference of the birds to the works of Samuel Beckett and Virginia Woolf. His oeuvre has been described as a ‘hymn to cultural exchange’.

Campbell, Parkes and Jorgensen met at ‘Processes and Outcomes, Paths and Products’: A Scottish Practice-as-Research Symposium at Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow in Nov 2012. In May 2013 they realised their first collaborative project ‘Haجar and the Anجel’ as part of the Hunterian Associate program at The Hunterian Art Gallery in Glasgow. The centerpiece of the exhibition was a rare work by 18th century Scottish painter John Runciman. In the tradition of heroic, narrative paintings, Runciman’s painting Hagar and the Angel (c. 1766) evokes the Old Testament story in which Abraham’s slave Hagar bore him a son and was banished with their child Ishmael to the desert. Runciman’s setting is more reminiscent of a Scottish glen than of the arid desert of Beersheba. Playing with this culturally dislocated quality of Runciman’s painting, Hagar and the Angel draws on Dib’s retelling of the story in his poetry collection L’Aube Ismaël (Dawn Ismaël, 1996) to engage with current themes of identity, exile and migration.

The installation was displayed at The Hunterian Art Gallery, 21 – 26 May 2013 (for more information, download the leaflet accompanying the installation). The opening of their project was part of the conference ‘Assembling Identities’ where they were joined by Poet, Author and Anthologist Pierre Joris and his wife Performance Artist Nicole Peyrafitte.

Jetties are currently working with the myself and dancer Marta Masiero towards new variations including movement.

Projected Image: Hagar and The Angel, oil on canvas, by John Ruchiman, c. 1766, Copyright The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, 2014

Poem: Hagar Awakens, by Mohammed Dib, translated by Madeleine Campbell
Sonic Piece: Haجar and the Anجel, by Bethan Parkes, 2013
Installation: Walnut, steel, dust sheets by Birthe Jorgensen

23 July 2014

5.30-7.30pm, workshop with a group of dancers and performers, Performance Studio, Gilmorehill Centre, University of Glasgow, 9 University Avenue, Glasgow G12 8QQ

Documentation from Monique Campbellhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/109185666@N05/sets/72157645914945302

27 April 2014

Workshop with a group of community dancers, Woodside Hall Community Hall, Glasgow
The workshop was attended by the Jetties group and participants Antonio Cervera, Asifa Hafiz, Hannah, Emmie McKay, and Julie Riddell. Here is a selection of images from the workshop, elegantly taken by Monique Campbell: http://www.flickr.com/photos/109185666@N05/sets/72157644488489773/

20 February 2014

Development workshop, Market Gallery, Glasgow
An unintended camera setting brought unexpected results, opening up for thinking about blinding light, shadows, the visible and the invisible.

17 January 2014

Development workshop, Woodside Hall Community Hall, Glasgow
The Jetties group is joined by dancer Tom Pritchard.