Whether as an irruption into public space or as a place for the generation of community and memory, Dokins’ work addresses contemporary social problems and tensions such as migration, state violence, and the politics of memory. We hope you enjoy them!
Sleeping Languages in Queensland. Brisbane, Australia.
During the Brisbane Street Art Festival, Said carried out a series of mural interventions through a participatory art exercise entitled “One Word Stories” with the intention of signaling the disappearance of Aboriginal languages and cultures.
After weeks of working with local organizations and people dedicated to protecting Aboriginal cultures, Dokins compiled the words and phrases people used to refer to the history of Queensland, which served as raw material to shape the vibrant composition of more of 200m2 carried out at Queensland University of Technology, QUT.
Necro/ Narcopolitics. Museum of Drug Policy
In this light and sound installation presented for the first time for the Museum of Drug Policy collection, Dokins addresses the contemporary political situation in which emergency and a phantasmatic notion of the enemy are continually appealed to justify and legitimize the forms of control and repression of the state.
Through terror tactics, such as forced disappearances, torture, actions by military and paramilitary bodies, and the normalization of the state of exception, the Mexican state administers the death of citizens, against the backdrop of organized crime. The names of Mexican politicians and drug traffickers interweave to form the words Narco / Necropolítica, which light up and darken, referring to the opacity in which the Mexican government operates.
Traslaciones (Translations). Centro de las Artes de San Luis.
This installation painted on over 40 meters long canvases was presented in its original version in the retrospective exhibition Said Dokins. Runaway Writings at the CEART San Luis Potosí, Mexico, an historical building that for more than a century worked as a prison.
Dokins resorts to translation as an operation that allows him to move scriptural signs from one place to another, by rewriting the inscriptions that once populated the walls of the old prison; graffiti, marks, scars left on the walls as a strategy of resistance against the politics of oblivion, a gesture of survival that allows the writer to maintain hope and even sanity in an extreme situation such as deprivation of liberty.
Dokins’ translations are not on the cold walls as they used to be, but on the soft and warm support of the canvas, which covers those bare walls of the old prison, with a new symbolic cover. A recent version of this installation was exhibited this year as part of the exhibition “This is not the end of the world” at Mexico City’s Gallery, Panteón.
War establishes the limit of dreams, Heliographies of Memory Series. Stavanger, Norway.
This piece is part of the Heliographies of Memory project, in which Dokins has worked since 2015 in collaboration with Leonardo Luna, capturing through long exposure photography the ephemeral moment of the calligraphic gesture that the artist performs, using light as a metaphor all those invisible inscriptions that have left an invisible mark on public spaces, providing them new layers of meanings.
This image shows a bunker built by the Nazis during World War II. These small concrete chambers, located on the shores of the North Sea, have remained abandoned since then, occasional shelters for some, they have been acquiring inscriptions, marks of those who have passed by. Its original use is the ghost of war, they appear as a forgotten scar in the Norwegian landscape, violence, and the dream that could not be.
The title of this work refers to the phrase of Walter Benjamin, regarding the dream of those who write history: “the wars established what is fair and unfair, even the limits of the dream.” These are the ruins, the failed attempt, and the drama of destruction left in its wake.
This is one of Said Dokins’ most outstanding installations, exhibited for the first time at La Casa de la Memoria Indómita in Mexico City, a museum-sponsored by Rosario Ibarra and the Eureka Committee, awarded with the Cortes de Cádiz Ibero-American Prize for Contemporary Artistic Creation “Juan Luis Vasallo 2015”, and selected to take part at the Sharjah Calligraphy Biennial next year.
This work displays a multimedia mechanism that involves sound and light elements, archive material, and the power of calligraphic inscription to explore the tension between memory and concealment, addressing to a silenced episode in Mexico’s History: the victims of forced disappearance during the period known as “Dirty War ” in Mexico.
El orden se derrumba (Order Collapses), Borderline México – USA
Said Dokins made this graffiti in November 2015, as part of a series of interventions organized by the Collective Calle 13 in the city of Mexicali. Within the political context of xenophobia of the US government, justified by the threats of the jihadist group of the Islamic State ISIS against the United States, Dokins took up the phrase of Antonin Artaud to highlight the contradictions that converge on the borderline.
The mural was in the neighborhood of Santa Clara, known as the place where migrants use to cross to the United States. Every year hundreds of undocumented people cross the border right where this piece was painted (next to number 5). In early 2018, during Donald Trump’s administration, the border fence, and most of the interventions were destroyed due to the border reinforcement works.