London based artist Corinne Silva was an artist in residence at Makan, in Jordan. Silva’s practice explores the use of the still and moving image in suggesting metaphysical space. Her quiet, meditative visual language engages with the potentials and restrictions of lens-based media and the evolving relationship between politics, landscape and art histories.
From 2010 to 2013, Corinne Silva created a trilogy of projects that take place between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. Her journey traces marks left on the ground by Israel’s national and neoliberal agenda, winding through national parks, suburban gardens and other public areas across Palestine.
Silva developed the last phase of her project during her fellowship with Makan and presented it Gardening the Suburbs. Curated by ArtTerritories, this photographic and plant installation was shown at Makan Art Space, from 16th April to 31st May, 2014. Silva’s installation considers what gardens mean in the context of contemporary Israeli colonisation, reflecting on the ways in which the state of Israel attempts to connect with the earth, to spread and settle, to make roots and grass over the historical narrative of the land of Palestine. The work also connects this microcosm of colonialism to a pattern of neoliberal housing projects that shape landscapes worldwide.
This large-scale, undulating, irregular photographic wall installation is made up of clusters of photographs of Israeli suburban gardens. The shape of the installation loosely maps the way these suburbs manoeuvre from the coastal areas surrounding Tel Aviv across the West Bank and into the Jordan Valley, hugging the major roads and freeways and cutting off Palestinian villages from one another.
The exhibition was accompanied by a programme of events curated and organised by ArtTerritories at Makan, including “From the Garden to the Grove”, a botanical fieldtrip to the Royal Botanical gardens, plant nurseries selling indigenous plants, and a landscape-architect–led tour of notable neighbourhood gardens. The trip was designed to question the political, ethical and social decisions made in tending one’s own garden, wherever that be in the world.
Makan was an artists-led cultural space in Amman, which provides a dynamic space for exchange between emerging and mid-career artists. It gave them opportunities to network and exchange ideas hoping that would be translated into art projects and performances both within and around the organisation.