Nice LegsQais Assali & Jose Luis Benavides
June 25, 2020, 18:00
In this video Palestinian artist Qais Assali and Latinx artist Jose Luis Benavides search for Santa Anna's missing leg. The Mexican general Santa Anna not only lost his wooden leg to the United States’ forces during the American invasion and occupation of Mexico in the Mexican–American War, but he also lost half of Mexico's territories to the US at the end of that war in 1848. Sharing in the trauma of Mexico's stolen lands in 1848 and the 1948 Nakba in Palestine, the two artists film their strange journey to Springfield, Illinois (US) where a military museum keeps guard of Santa Anna's wooden leg in its odd fortress as a macabre trophy of US global imperialism.
The video ‘Nice Legs’ and installation work ‘Monument’ were first shown at The Lasting Effect, Curated by Reem Fadda, Qalandiya International, ‘Solidarity’ 2018. This event was funded in part by The City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance under Qais Assali’s project ‘On Collaboration & Solidarity.’
Qais Assali (b. 1987 Nablus) is an artist, designer and educator. His interdisciplinary work seeks to engage and subvert national geopolitical power dynamics. Assali holds an MFA from Bard College, NY and MA in Art Education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Recently, Assali was a Visiting Professor for the Critical Race Studies at Michigan State University 2018-19, and currently a Fellow at the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. His work has been exhibited at the SculptureCenter, New York; Chicago Cultural Center; Rashid Diab Arts Centre, Khartoum; Jeune création, Paris; Festival Artes Vertentes de Tiradentes, Brazil; Temporary Art Centre, Eindhoven; 6018North, Chicago, solo exhibitions at Akademirommet, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo; Khan Al Wakala, Nablus; and Michigan State University Union Art Gallery.
Jose Luis Benavides (b. 1986 Chicago) is a Latinx artist, filmmaker and educator. His works focus on issues of historicity, social narratives, and voice, merging intensive archival research practices. His work has screened internationally at: Revolutions Per Minute Festival, Univ. of Mass. Boston, US (2020); Istanbul International Film Festival, Istanbul (2019); Qalandiya International, Ramallah (2018); and Mizna’s 14th Twin Cities Arab Film Festival, Minneapolis, US (2019). Benavides is a co-coordinator with Illinois Deaths in Custody Project which seeks to document, archive, highlight and mourn the deaths of all peoples in Illinois jails and prisons. He also curates a Latinx video-art series called Sin Cinta Previa which was awarded a POWER Project grant from the Art Leaders of Color Network (2018) and a Propeller Fund grant (2019).
This event was part of Dar Jacir's online program organized in response to the coronavirus emergency. Foregrounding solidarity and care our program focused on bringing together our family of artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers and dancers to lead programs and remain connected while we are physically separated.