Mona Ayyash

Artwork Details

Mona Ayyash with Inês de Almeida, Olivia Duncan, Mohammad El-Jachi, Shamma Khoory and Altamash Urooj

Folding Bellies


Single-channel digital video

32 mins

Credit Line
Courtesy of the artist
This project was supported by Warehouse421,
Mina Zayed, Abu Dhabi

Work Description

Folding Bellies is a video compilation of fragmentary gestures, filmed by five people from the local community invited to explore movement exercises with their bodies. The work presents an intimate gaze at the body in private, confined spaces, responding to and interacting with the elements of each space-shadows, edges, corners, doors, windows, mirrors and light. The video clips are layered one on top of the other or beside one another and constantly change, accumulate and subtract, blurring the progression and linearity of the video.

Folding Bellies is segmented into three parts: ‘Part I’ is a starting point. The movements are simple and there is an awkwardness to the gestures; ‘Part II’ is faster, tactile and more refined. The gestures begin to form their own visual language. Similar to an algorithm, the movements and layers learn from each other as they go; ‘Part Ill’ reveals another dimension: the use of technology is evident in the process of making, screens are visible within the screen. Gestures respond to videos of earlier gestures, mimicking each other. Authorship of the movements is blurred as actions are copied, repeated and redirected.

Artist Biography

Mona Ayyash (lives and works in Dubai, UAE) is a Palestinian visual artist, raised in Dubai. Her practice focuses on repetition, memorisation, slowness and boredom. She holds a BFA from American University, Dubai (2009) and a MFA in Studio Arts from Concordia University, Montreal (2015). Her work was recently exhibited at Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah as part of ‘UAE Unlimited’ (2019), and has also been included in group exhibitions at Casino Artspace, Hamilton, Ontario (2016); FOFA Gallery & VAV Gallery, Montreal (2015); SIKKA Art Fair, Dubai (2012); and The Third Line, Dubai (2010). Ayyash has also participated in residencies at Warehouse 421 Homebound Residency, Abu Dhabi (2020-21); Alserkal Residency, Dubai (2017); and _VON_ Artist Residency, Cuernavaca (2014).