Rehana Zaman is an artist living and working in London and before that from Heckmondwike, and before that from Pakistan. Her work speaks to notions of kinship and sociality, seeking out possibilities of intimacy and transgression within hostile contexts. Conversation and cooperative methods sit at the heart of her films which extend into texts, performances and group work. She has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally. Recent presentations include Serpentine Projects (forthcoming), BEK – Bergen Centre for Electronic Arts, British Art Show 9 (Touring), ICA Miami, Trinity Square Video, Toronto, Borås International Sculpture Biennial (Sweden) Artist Film International Whitechapel, London and worldwide. In 2019 she co-edited Tongues with Taylor Le Melle, published by PSS and was shortlisted for the Film London Jarman Award. She is a member of not/nowhere artist workers cooperative and her films are distributed by LUX.
In collaboration with women affected by incarceration Rehana Zaman’s residency examines the intersections of race, gender and class within the UK criminal justice system.
Everything Worthwhile is Done with Other People (2023) takes up the conversations, experiences and freedom dreams of a group of women affected by the carceral state as encountered through the UK government’s hostile environment policy and prison system. This work began as a series of workshops led through Hibiscus Initiatives framed around questions of criminality, innocence and citizenship, perceived through the lens of gender, race and class.
The group is made up of women from South Africa, Ghana, Jamaica, Albania, Nigeria and Iraq. Through these sessions the technical facets of filmmaking are deconstructed, through theatre games and improvisation, camera and sound recording, storytelling and testimony. Central to this process of congregating as a group is sharing experiences, offering mutual support, advice and tactics to address the interminable limbo of unanswered applications for leave to remain or appeal for asylum, alongside applications for housing or urgent medical care, or the need to reconstruct some semblance of stability after the traumatic impact of a detention or prison sentence.
Over the course of the last five years our ambitions to create a collectively authored film have been held and nurtured through many shared meals, blossoming friendships and periodic trips to the beach.
As the process of our gathering draws to a close, a polyvocal hybrid film has emerged, offering a small glimpse into a group’s attempt to connect and form against punitive contexts that strive to diminish, reduce and disappear. The work continues to articulate how in spite of these conditions, solidarity and love can, and does, prevail.
Mariame Kaba,“Eve L. Ewing, Everything Worthwhile Is Done With Other People”, ADI Magazine (Fall 2019)