SLT MAY23 EXPO Shezad Dawood Night in the Garden of Love

Shezad Dawood at Wiels: Night in the Garden of Love

Michaël Bellon

British artist Shezad Dawood has always explored non-Western traditions, themes and forms by using his Pakistani and Indian roots.

For this exhibition, he started a dialogue with the work of the Afro-American musician and composer Yusef Lateef (1920-2013). Lateef not only enriched jazz with numerous non-Western instruments, but also made real drawings of his abstract musical notation, and wrote the dystopian econovela Night in the Garden of Love. Like Lateef, Dawood explores the garden’s potential as a symbolic place for creativity and optimism in the face of the climate crisis. He is presenting Lateef’s original drawings outside the US for the first time. Those original works – representing strange, colourful and droodle-like constellations of plants and tree-like forms – form the core of the exhibition. Dawood adds a virtual reality experience with a series of paintings on textiles and a garden with algorithmic plants that grow digitally, in a jazzy response to Lateef’s music. On several Sundays, you can also encounter a dancing “mutant” in a sculptural costume in that setting, because Dawood asked the Brussels dancer Wan-Lun Yu to interpret that character from Lateef’s novella in both virtual and tangible reality.

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