Ayman Zedani’s investigative practice works to upend our comprehension of the past and challenge our acceptance of the future. His work includes videos, installations and immersive environments that consider the future of the Gulf. His resultant projects are platforms to invite audiences to observe human-nonhuman symbiosis, leaving his narratives open to a multitude of interpretations and questions. His arc of inquiry highlights the interactions and relationships between humans and more-than-human worlds, framing his practices and projects as extended animism.
Zedani’s practice occurs beyond a strict classification and highlights a constant renegotiation with humanity’s relationship to nature, especially from a regional context. His previous projects include almost sacral quality to them, highlighting material play that feature stone, clay, charcoal, and concrete in austere displays and have recently moved into manipulation of function and form of organic material including trees, plants, bacteria, and other living matter as well as more immersive storytelling featuring non-human protagonists.
The construction and consumption of nature in the Gulf are central to his explorative process, as well as elements of animist and polytheism themes found in pre-Islamic Arabia, where non-human elements existed in harmony with humans. New materialist philosophies such as the agency of matter and the notion of making kin, also feature in his approach in creating new hybrid spaces built on weaving the factual and fictional.
His themes of speculative futures move beyond the margins of Gulf Futurism and centralize the legacy of regional ecological and cultural lineage. His multi-layered projects are built on a series of experiments and investigations exploring multi-species collaboration and various forms of knowledge as a foundation to overcome the challenges of the Anthropocene.
Ayman Zedani, The Valley of The Desert Keepers. Exhibition view: Desert X AlUla 2022 (11 February–30 March 2022). Courtesy the artist and Desert X AlUla. Photo: Lance Gerber.