Katherine Fry
Sarah Dobai   The Donkey Field
Sarah Dobai, The Donkey Field (still), 2021

Sarah Dobai  The Donkey Field (still)  2021  single screen film work  duration: 20 mins

2 October - 13 November 2021  Thurs - Sat, 2-6pm
Private view: Friday 1 October

The central feature of the exhibition will be a single screen film titled The Donkey Field. Based on sections of a family member’s account of his experiences in Budapest in 1944, the film focuses on the insidious impact of discrimination, persecution, and displacement on a child. Motivated partially by recognizing the historical resonance of Europe’s flawed response to the ongoing refugee crisis, The Donkey Field aims to reflect on the processes by which dehumanization of a people becomes normalized overtime, implicating not only the authorities but society as a whole. The exhibition will also feature several new photographic works, depicting places whose pastoral qualities become shadowed by their association with dark episodes in European history.

Sarah Dobai lives and works in London and in a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts. She completed a Masters in Fine Art at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver working with Jeff Wall and Ian Wallace. Her practice is based in photography but extends into film, publication and performance. Her work reflects on the central position of photography and cinema in relation to ongoing debates around representation, realism and authorship. Her recent work has focussed on re-enacting and repurposing historical works of literature or cinema as a means to animate and foreground concerns with present -day social and political conditions.

Recent projects include the performance and photo prose poem work Bees in a Hive of Glass made in collaboration with novelist Tom McCarthy commissioned by TANK and Whitstable Biennale. Recent exhibitions include her solo show Principles & Deceptions at Or Gallery (Vancouver), Filet (London) and The Vanishing Point in History with Matthew Buckingham, Uriel Orlow and Lina Selander for L’été Photographique de Lectoure (Gers, France).

Dobai’s publication The Overcoat comprised a republication Nikolai Gogol’s classic novella (1842) and was published by Four Corners Books. The publication featured photographs of commercial vitrines in London and Paris considering these displays in relation to the confusion of surface appearance with reality that figures both in the story and on the streets of the city. Other exhibitions include Theatres of the Real, FotoMuseum Antwerp, Belgium; Darkside II, FotoMuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; City Lives, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, The London Open, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; On the Nature of Things, Kamloops Art Gallery, British Columbia, Canada and Troubled Water, Kuandu Museum of Fine Art, Taipei.