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Gesturing Refugees (2018)


The interactive video dance performance intends to archive untold stories of refugeehood using the bodies of refugee artists and the audience as the main archive, while playing with other archive material, testimonies and imagination. 

The alternative archive includes present, past and even future stories of refugeehood to try and interrogate collective responsibility and find bridges between the past and present. 


By re-enacting, transforming and deforming hidden and personal memories of refugees performed by refugee artists, the performance allows the re-appropriation of the narrative of refugeehood and the development of a collective gestural identity that might challenge that of passive victimhood to which refugees are often subjected. The creation process of the piece faced many obstacles related to visa denial to artists and the impossibility of their physical encounter, which added other formal and political layers to the performance. 



Concept and choreography: Farah Saleh

In collaboration with the artists: Fadi Waked,

Hamza Damra, Farah Saleh

and Pedro Simoes.

Video: Pedro Vaz Simoes, Shadi Jaber

and Owa Barua. 

Dramaturgy: Luke Pell 


Funded by

Creative Scotland and Cultural Resource 


Supported by

Dance Base 

                                                                  ©Maciej Czajka


Avignon Festival in July 2018 (Avignon)

Ifa Gallery in February 2019 (Berlin)               

Grange de Dorigny Theatre in June 2019 (Lausanne)                                  

CCA as part of Refugee Festival Scotland in June 2019 (Glasgow)

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival in July 2019 (Liverpool)

Redzone Festival in October 2019 (Tangier)

Veem House for Performance in December 2020 (Amsterdam)

The Fruitmarket Gallery in April 2022 (Edinburgh)                                                                   



A video documenting the first residency (May 2017)


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