Site #2 Ali Cherri
Of Men, Gods and Mud 2022
In Ali Cherri’s new multi-channel video installation Of Men and Gods and Mud he traces the history of the Merowe Dam, one of the largest hydroelectric dams in Africa, located on the Nile River in Northern Sudan. The work imagines the punishing construction of a dam as a portal to a fantastical world. In the video, a seasonal brickmaker spends his days in the heat performing the gruelling ancient task of shaping mud into bricks; at night, he secretly builds a structure in mud and scrap, which ultimately transforms into a mystical creature with bodily presence. Envisioned as a monster, this creature functions as a metaphor for the devastation wrought by the creation of the dam, whose construction in the early 2000s led to the forced displacement of more than 50,000 people in surrounding areas, and the mud workers as exiled, temporary labourers. Reflecting upon imaginaries surrounding mud and deluge – Ancient Egyptian myths of the flooding Nile, the Jewish legend of the golem, Noah’s Ark – Cherri furthermore captures deeply held associations in both myth and history with these natural occurrences: the creation of the Other.