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๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ธ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ด ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ค๐˜บ๐˜ค๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด

Ayesha Tan Jones, Vivien Sansour, Alice Notley, Dear,

Postal project

During the summer months of 2021, Vleeshal collaborated with the artist initiative Dear,. Dear, is a postal project initiated by Martha Jager, co-curated with Sophie de Seriรจre. By the extended reach of the written letter, Dear, seeks to connect poets, writers and artists with readers and establish a sense of closeness in times of solitude. Dear, functions as a messenger between writer and reader, and distribute an artist's letter by post each month. For this third iteration, Dear, teamed up with Vleeshal Center for Contemporary Art. Letters written by Ayesha Tan Jones, Vivien Sansour & Alice Notley were sent from Middelburg into the world.

This series of Dear, is titled ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ธ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ด ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ค๐˜บ๐˜ค๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด, from a haiku by Japanese poet Hakuen. It is the result of a dialogue between Dear, and Vleeshal on the cyclicality of life and loss. This series explores how the act of gardening permeates our lives โ€“ in practices of upkeep, nurture and restoration.

๐“‡— ๐“†ฐ

Letters appeared in an edition of 100 and a subscription was available during a slow release, accessible to all time zones.


Vivien Sansour

  • Woman Picking Cactus (2020) by Ayed Arafah Palestine | ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ธ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ด ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ค๐˜บ๐˜ค๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด | Ayesha  Tan Jones, Vivien  Sansour, Alice Notley, Dear,

    Woman Picking Cactus (2020) by Ayed Arafah Palestine

To My Grandmotherโ€™s Tomatoes,

They say travel is a privilege
But I am starting to think that perhaps stillness is
To be somewhere where you feel unthreatened
Not needing to pack your bags and flee
Somewhere where water is your god given gift
You bath
You drink
You water your plants
And you baptize yourself as you need
Every time you need a cleansing
Every time you need a new beginning

New beginnings are a limited commodity where I sit
Right now only spring can offer that
Maybe summer will bring better news
Maybe by winter

An old farmerโ€™s head is smashed at the boots of a machine gun
He just wanted to hug his trees for the last time before they are transformed into debris

My neighborhood is starting to look more like a cemetery on a hill
Apartment buildings
Coffins pretending to be homes

Itโ€™s getting drier and we are all getting more thirsty

I want to build a cistern
Or should I call it a water reservoir
Heck who cares!
Itโ€™s a hole in the earth where you keep water so that when everything starts to die
You will still have life to offer

Spontaneous generation
My oldย friend Johnโ€™s favorite theory
I wonder if we will start to see frogs jumping around
Maybe in time fish will appear

Thatโ€™s what they say
That when there is water life starts to happen
And out of nonliving matter new beings appear
We were all under water anyway
Four hundred million years ago
As we dig deeper in our mountain
We find crystallized ocean sand

Maybe we will find gold hidden from the Roman era
Or remnants of an old civilization that had lots of water
No gold here
But lots of white soil
And a few cheap geodes
โ€œItโ€™s no goodโ€
Our visitor says
He doesn't seem to appreciate the value of time that transformed sand into crystals

How has ancient wisdom been lost on the generations that drink from faucet and forget that our grandmothers had to walk miles
And bend on their knees to fill their jars with water
Just to carry them on their heads up the mountain

Like my great grandmother Jameleh
I have never met her
Some say she was tough
I hear my mother say she was tender
But nobody ever talks about her pain

She lived abandoned but found solace in the trees

โ€œYour great grandmotherโ€™s tomatoes were the bestโ€
Says the old man

โ€œI still taste them in my mouthโ€
ุณุงู‚ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุน ู‡ุฏูŠูƒ ุงู„ุจู†ุฏูˆุฑุฉ
โ€œWill we ever taste that heirloom tomato ever again?โ€
I assure him:
โ€œI still have itโ€
But the weather has changed
The hill has dried
And Jameleh...
Well โ€”- she is turning in her grave
What nonsense is this?!

I hear she was afraid of the car the first time she saw one

I am not. I love cars,ย planes, ships, and anything that moves
You see travel is a privilege after all
You get to change the scenery
Maybe find a lake or a river that still flows
And in another country
Where you donโ€™t know the soil
You can pretend the world is ok

I like to sit in the shade of a tree sometime
Donโ€™t you?

Stillness is a privilege after all ...
It demands us to rise to meet ourselves
To demand ourselves of ourselves ...

What is this nonsense?!
I can hear Jameleh say

The water is here
The water is here


From Palestine to California - May 30th, 2021
Vivien Sansour


In 2015 Vleeshal kicked of its Nomadic Program, as an extension of its existing exhibition program in Middelburg. In its Nomadic Program Vleeshal goes on tour, organising exhibitions and other events in collaboration with venues in the Netherlands and abroad, such as Art Rotterdam, Amsterdam Art Weekend, the Spring Performance Festival, WIELS Art Book Fair, Brussels and Poppositions, Brussels.

From time to time Vleeshal invites guest curators to organize exhibitions in the Vleeshal or to develop other projects. By doing so, we aim to welcome new perspectives and contribute to talent development.