Abdul Halik Azeez

Desert Dreaming

Abdul Halik Azeez
Abdul Halik Azeez Desert Dreaming
When everything around you changes or disappears, what remains present in your consciousness? Using archival material and family photographs, Abdul Halik Azeez's project investigates the recent history of Sri Lankan Muslims and their migration to the Middle East, as well as the micro impacts of major shifts such as the neoliberalisation of the economy in the 1970s, the dual civil war that began in the 1980s and subsequent post-war transformations in Sri Lanka.

The project, started in 2019 and still ongoing, includes three videos. The film Desert Dreaming combines a conversation with his father about his travels and family footage, a promotional video of a controversial Chinese driven land reclamation project and footage of Sri Lankan film star MGR. Stranger in a Strange Land tells of complex childhood memories at the time of burgeoning capitalism in Sri Lanka as family members became more radicalised in their faith and imposed it on Azeez, while he eagerly embraced expressions of Western culture, including rap music and heavy metal. MGR centres on South Indian actor-politician MG Ramachandran (popularly known as MGR). As a role model, MGR has had a major influence on the masculine self-imagination of a significant portion of Tamil-speaking Sri Lankans within generations who came of age in the mid-20th century. In this project, Azeez reimagines global narratives by intertwining diverse histories, challenging conventional and linear interpretations of the past.

Abdul Halik Azeez
Abdul Halik Azeez Desert Dreaming
Desert Dreaming
Abdul Halik Azeez Desert Dreaming
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