Confluence is a 1-year residency and research programme taking place between Marrakech and Glasgow curated by Alaya Ang, Francesca Masoero and Shayma Nader, and developed by CCA Glasgow & QANAT (a collective platform held by LE 18).
This initiative aims to foster and stimulate mutual exchange between artists, curators and cultural practitioners in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and in Scotland in an effort to bring in multiple contextual understandings around water as a political, historical and economic substance.
Confluence is funded by the British Council’s International Collaboration Grants, which are designed to support UK and overseas organisations to collaborate on international arts projects.
As ephemeral and vast archives of experience and memory, the sea as well as other bodies of water lie at the heart of the complex interconnectedness of humans and non-humans and the entanglements of our environments.
Confluence emerges from the intersection of QANAT and CCA’s interests in water as a complex site of different cultural meanings and sociopolitical practices across time and space.
Weaving together different territories, stories, and communities, Confluence seeks to reflect on the transformative and generative moments of breakdown; resistances in the water; pirate practices as care; and harbours as sites of both extractive economies and redistributive ecologies.
Our entry points are literatures of the sea; inland and fluvial mobility routes carving trades, conflicts and exchanges throughout the Mediterranean and the Sahara; intimate histories and current legacies of colonial administrations of the waters intertwining different territories across seas; as well as coastal and fluvial ecologies in Scotland, Morocco, and beyond. While taking into account contemporary material infrastructures of (im)mobility, the project also explores how thinking relationally through water affects our understanding of identities as shifting, various and in-flux.
Confluence articulates through three interrelated strands: a residency and a research programme, and a final exhibition. Each of these aims to create a framework for artists, researchers, curators, and scholars to engage in conversation and share knowledge around water as a matter and an architecture shaping times, spaces, our ways to relate to, and understand them.
Artists in Residence (CCA)
Bahaleen is a research group concerned with the twisted and bent conditions of art practice in Jordan and the region. Bahaleen aims to be a constellation of acts, projects, and productions.
Seeking to explore alternative modes of coming together by working closely with artists, Bahaleen is dedicated to investigating the sociopolitical histories and emancipatory potentials of art practice by instigating spaces that mimes reality and fiction, towards autonomy; for arts and artists in the region.
In the past year, and through a series of itinerant residencies in search of Barazakh, Bahaleen has intersected and been confronted by the politics and borders of water bodies along the Jordanian, Palestinian, Syrian, Saudi, Iraqi borders, and lands controlled by the zionest occupation. During Confluence, Bahaleen will kick off the research for a new project on the indexing of dams, examining the history of contracting companies, funding politics, ecologies, policing, and surveillance systems around dams and water bodies in Jordan and the region.
if raymond had to describe his practice in a drawing, and describe this drawing, he would tell you about a triangle, with angles of language, body and territory.
in this triangle, water is floating.
Youssef El Idrissi is a self-taught multidisciplinary artist, researcher and cultural worker, based in Casablanca, Morocco. He holds a bachelor's in Philosophy of Communications and Public Spaces, and a Master's degree in Cultural & Artistic Engineering. In 2018, he co-founded the collective Kounaktif which aims to democratize access to arts and works at the intersection of ecology, technology and arts.
Within his artistic practice, he focuses on decolonization of imaginaries, indigenous mythologies, power relations, dynamics of the unconscious, interrelation between psyche and space, body and awareness, technology and living beings, errors (glitches) and symbiosis. He aims through his cultural and artistic work to connect the aesthetical and the political by deconstructing the norms, the socio-artistic barriers and old methods using alternative pedagogies, formats and interdisciplinary practice.
Youssef El Idrissi
Saoirse Amira Anis is a Dundee-based artist and curator whose practice prioritises radical care, informality and empathy. Saoirse’s work is informed primarily by Black queer literature, her personal ancestry, and her own body as it moves through the world. She considers the ways in which the body holds ancestral and lived memories – particularly in relation to feelings of guilt, shame and inadequacy.
Saoirse thinks of her practice as a personal therapeutic process and aims to ensure that her creative undertakings are acts of self-care. She considers the beneficial ways in which we can share our vulnerabilities with others in order to reap the personal and political benefits of nurture.
For Confluence Residency, Saoirse is interested in the parallels that can be drawn between Scottish and Moroccan folklore and rituals, and how these are rooted in each country's intrinsic connection to water.
Natasha Thembiso Ruwona is a Scottish-Zimbabwean artist, researcher, and creative programmer. They are interested in how Afrofuturism and ecology can meet through storytelling and by listening to the landscape. Using water as a method for thinking, Natasha investigates entwinements of Scottish history and Black Geographies via their transatlantic connections. Through their investigations, they are also seeking to understand how healing and improved well-being are impacted when we explore our relationships with our environment.
In 2021, Natasha was one of the shortlisted artists for the Margaret Tait Award and arebyte’s hotel generation artist development programme. They are currently working on a commission for Alchemy Film & Arts.
Recent commissions and presentations of their work include: Raumdeuter Radio Glasgow, Mis(sing) Information at Perth Museum & Art Gallery and Cinenova with Spike Island.
Natasha Thembiso Ruwona
Maria Howard is a British-Italian artist based in Glasgow. Working mostly with text and sculpture, her research-led practice is concerned with the poetic and political connections between water, memory and the climate crisis. Her most recent work engages with the classical architectural element of the column through the materiality of unfired clay, attempting to undermine the grandiosity of this nostalgic and colonial symbol in sculptures that are playful, abject and impermanent.
In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize and received a Gillian Purvis Trust Award for New Writing. In 2021 she graduated from the Art Writing MLitt at Glasgow School of Art, was commended for her submission to the UEA New Forms Award and won the Yellow Paper Prize for Art Writing. In July 2022 she will exhibit Soft Quarry (Column party!) at the Taattinen Residency Summer Exhibition in Finland. She is an associate editor for Nothing Personal magazine.