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Past Projects

Tai Shani: Semiramis

20 July – 14 October 2018

Semiramis was Tai Shani's first major solo exhibition in a public gallery and formed part of her nomination for the 2019 Turner Prize, which Shani won alongside Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock and Oscar Murillo. Semiramis was the culmination of her ongoing project Dark Continent, which included an immersive installation in The Tetley's atrium, film works, posters and a selection of artworks drawn together by Shani.

Over the last four years Tai Shani has developed a body of work that takes Christine de Pizan's 1405 protofeminist text The Book of the City of Ladies as it's starting point. Pizan created an allegorical city of notable women drawn from a medieval conception of history, where fact, fiction and myth are blurred. Characters from fiction live side by side with female historical figures, collectively making an early case for gender equality.

In Semiramis, Shani presented twelve films of twelve characters, including The Woman on the Edge of Time, The Vampyre, The Medieval Mystic, Siren and Phantasmagoregasm, demonstrated through performed monologues with an original score by Let's Eat Grandma.

The often violent, erotic and fantastical narratives, mix science-fiction, anthropology, feminist and queer theory, to re-imagine a world with interlinked cosmologies, myth and histories. Throughout, Semiramis privileged sensation, experience and interiority, undermined patriarchal conceptions of narrative history to propose a possible post-patriarchal future.

Co-commissioned by The Tetley and Glasgow International, in collaboration with Nottingham Contemporary. Supported by Arts Council England and the Royal College of Art.

Reviews

"Semiramis is very weird; it is also deeply illuminating, sexy, angry, tender, affecting in ways that surpass narrative, and full of urgent insight about the world." – Tank Magazine

"[SEMIRAMIS] is like diving vagina-first into a cyborgian erotic tunnel, in which strange and magnificent characters tell tales of squirting fluids and menstrual blood". – The White Review

Tai Shani, Semiramis, 2018. Courtesy the artist and The Tetley. Photo Jules Lister

Tai Shani, Semiramis, Installation shot, 2018. Courtesy the artist and The Tetley. Photo Jules Lister

Tai Shani, Paradise, 2017. Courtesy the artist and The Tetley. Photo Jules Lister

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