Seeds From The Zoo
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Artist Bryony Dunne speaks about her film, Bring Them Back Alive, which will be screened on the evening and photographic exploration, Seeds From The Zoo, of the history of Egypt’s Giza Zoo, revealing a fascinating story of the legacy of European colonialism. Dunne will be in conversation with Goldsmiths lecturer Dr Shela Sheikh and George Toon.
The photo book Seeds From The Zoo features over fifty images from Dunne’s two-year documentary photography project on Giza Zoo’s flora and fauna. Established under British occupation in 1891, the zoo houses trees native to India, Brazil, Burma, Australia, Madagascar and the Malay Peninsula, which were imported to Egypt via the Suez Canal. On visits to the site, Dunne collected fallen seeds in the grounds and later painted the pattern of animals skins on their pods. In the film, Bring Them Back Alive, Dunne interweaves her photographs with found footage and photographs of colonial-era botanical and zoological gardens, natural history museums and world fairs. The film also features extracts from her forthcoming experimental feature film on the multi-billion dollar, illegal rhino-horn trade.
Bryony Dunne is an Irish-artist based in Cairo. Her work explores the intersection between humanity and the natural world, often merging documentary and fiction. Dunne’s work has been exhibited at Goldsmiths University London, Contemporary Image Collective Cairo and the Irish Film Institute amongst others. She is currently working on a feature film titled Pembe, which follows the journey of the world’s last male Northern White Rhinoceros.
Shela Sheikh is Lecturer at the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London, where she convenes the MA Postcolonial Culture and Global Policy. She is currently working on a book on testimony, martyrdom and deconstruction, and a multi-platform research project around colonialism, botany and the politics of planting. Within the latter, she is co-editing, with Ros Gray, a special issue of Third Text entitled “The Wretched Earth: Botanical Conflicts and Artistic Interventions” (Spring 2018).
George Toon is studying Fine Art and History of Art (BA) at Goldsmiths, University of London. They have been living in Cairo for the past year to improve their Arabic and work on their artistic projects which focus on pedagogy, sexuality, history and language. They are currently working on a series of translations as well as a zine linking gay culture to the writings of Johann Winckelmann.