Fellowship

Fellow 2017/2018

Ola Hassanain

Ola Hassanain is an artist with degrees in architecture, cultural identity, and globalization. She has an MFA with distinction from HKU University of the Arts, Utrecht. Her artwork is informed by the cultural, political, and societal position of women in Khartoum, including her own experiences and her family’s diaspora. Her project Back and Forth (2016–ongoing) deals with the link between women, public space, and policies in Khartoum. Her involvement in the Dutch art scene has been critical for developing her work on culture-specific gender and spatial politics. Hassanain lives and works in Khartoum and Utrecht.

http://www.olahassanain.com

Fellowship Research Trajectory

Ola Hassanain works with women’s experiences of gender and public space in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. She examines how state policies regulate perceptions of these experiences. Through photographic and video documentation, as well as a series of working group sessions, the phases of her research project Back and Forth: Space, Policies, and Women imagine policy in the form of a public “spatial conversation” and shift the site of policy creation from the private to the public sphere. This shift in dynamic aims to mediate active roles for those affected by existing policies in imagining new possibilities for political dialogue. The project zooms in on nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) as examples of policy-making spaces that use reductive aesthetic representations, notably in gender-oriented publications, to shape perceptions of gender. The current phase of Back and Forth, titled “Doing Family: Dialectics of Gender and Policy,” operates as a tool for doing family in diaspora and a model for a counter strategy of exchange with NGOs that re-articulates the hegemonic relations between and narratives of gender, space, and policy without using the categories of artistic representation imposed by the NGOs.