Du visar för närvarande Hi Mohamed Sleiman Labat!
Image courtesy: Motif Art Studio / Mohamed Sleiman Labat

Hi Mohamed Sleiman Labat!

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Mohamed Sleiman Labat is a Sahrawi multidisciplinary artist, filmmaker, writer & translator. Born and raised in the Sahrawi refugee camps southwest Algeria. He now runs Motif Art Studio; a small art space built entirely from discarded materials following destructive floods that hit the refugee camps in Tindouf in 2015. His art draws upon the past and present life of the Sahrawi people. He has been exploring these interconnected topics through different art practices including films, writing and community-based art.

How did Motif Art Studio come to be? 
Motif Art Studio was built as a response to an ecological disaster and its philosophy aims at becoming a tool to address the pressing environmental issues facing our local communities and the world. In 2015, huge floods hit the Sahrawi refugee camps and destroyed the hand-built mud homes and the tents of many families in the different camps. Over the next full year, we delved into an experiment of making (and breaking) attempting to build something out of the rubble. Of all the things one might think we needed to live in a refugee camp, we wanted to build an art studio! A place of creating, experimenting and exchanging. We wanted to create a space for our creativity as much as we needed a place where to be. We built and rebuilt again and again. 

What is Motif Art Studio’s approach to art?
The art practices we are developing in Motif Art Studio mark a transition in our views and understanding of the role of art in our lives and the world we live in today. Furthermore we have come to shift focus and no longer want to create object art, instead we want to engage with the living processes that create life and celebrate life. We are experimenting with creating gardens and collecting seeds as part of the studio practice. The new practices are parallel to what many Sahrawi families are engaging with; they are creating small-scale family gardens in an extreme environment in the Hamada Desert. New practice-based knowledges and processes are being developed in the Sahrawi community. The gardens, the seeds and food are strong expressions of community resilience in the face of the multilayered realities of the refugee political situation, the displacement and climate change. We think that art should be at the heart of this discussion. So, can creating gardens, collecting and sharing seeds, celebrating food and working with the microbes be the kind of processes and interventions that art embraces and promotes?

What can we expect to encounter at SUPERMARKET 2024? 
For SUPERMARKET 2024 we invite you for a multisensorial food conversation art in which we can activate our senses, enjoy some food and learn about the art of living and being. We will bring kaabush balls, a Special Sahrawi delicacy of balls made from dates, roasted grounded wheat and olive oil. We hope to open a discussion with the participants about such art practices and the role of art in the time of environmental changes and resource depletion. What can art do about this? 

In addition to his participation with Motif Art Studio at SUPERMAERKET 2024, Mohamed’s collaborative project with Pekka Niskanen (FI), PhosFATE, is on view at Konsthallen Kulturens Hus in Luleå as part of Luleåbiennalen 2024.