Rat, Rose, Bird explores empire, colonialism, mortality and love. Subtly mashing up cultures, curios, objects and ideas, the piece is a poetic meditation on farewells, departures, long journeys and “the hunt” – for a better life, a better love, a place to drop anchor or a space to claim (“finally!”) as one’s own.
Inhabiting the work as a kind of hostess/magician, Sheila reveals, explodes and mixes together a range of ingredients including champagne, rats, roses and birds in order to re-enact a set of memories, remembrances, exits and endings – over and over again.
Perhaps there’s something to be learnt by invoking the past? Or perhaps it’s nothing more than a series of repetitions?
Sheila Ghelani makes visually rich performance work that engages with ideas surrounding hybridity, migration and love. Her work has been shown at venues and festivals across Europe including Belluard Bollwerk International in Switzerland and The Wellcome Collection in London.