The video Smile, You're in Sharjah is the fourth collaboration between Artist Mariam Ghani and Choreographer Erin Ellen Kelly. The title comes from the Emirate’s distinctive welcome sign, spelled out in flowers in the middle of a roundabout notorious for its rush-hour traffic jams.
The video is a study of the patterns and rhythms of movement through shared spaces of the city-state. In preparation for the film, the Artists carried out interviews with local inhabitants and identified places and moments in the city where the movement of people is already in some way ritualised or syncopated. In certain instances the Artists introduced minimal choreography to the movement of inhabitants to heighten or make more evident for the camera existing patterns of behaviour.
The film’s circular structure is intended to give viewers a sense of the cycles of Sharjah – day to night, weekday to weekend, construction to demolition, labor to leisure – but also to explore the different currents of commuting and consumption required to connect and sustain those cycles over time. The artists are also interested in the interplay between Sharjah’s facades, the self-image they construct and their active maintenance, which is most visible in the spaces discovered in between more defined neighbourhoods.
This project was part of Sharjah Biennial 9
Smile, You're in Sharjah
Mariam Ghani and Erin Ellen Kelly
Site-specific video installation
24 minutes, 7 seconds
Photo by Alfredo Rubio