HOW PERFECT IS THIS HOW BLESSED ARE WE

This text was originally written by Babar Suleman for the Compton Verney Inclusive Histories Research Fellowship (2021). Suleman’s film, HOW PERFECT IS THIS HOW BLESSED ARE WE, was exhibited in the gallery from March 16 – May 13, 2022. You can find out more about the fellowships here.


Scale

Whether it was the historic country house or landscape itself or the task in
front of me, I was struck at first by scale. Grandeur, sure, but even that had
much to do with scale.

My physicality seemed minor:
Ripples I made in the water, disappearing seconds after I conjured them.
My body, a dot receding into the landscape.
My presence across a few days, perhaps a footnote in a history that spans
centuries.

Interior

Beyond this world is another world. The world of the interior. It is bigger than
houses and landscapes, countries and centuries, the here and now, yesteryear and future.

It is a world that accompanies me wherever I am. It may not be visible but it
exists and pervades.


It is the world I primarily exist in.


My voice, its only messenger.

Mapping

I set out to superimpose my world on the world in front of me.
Grief spilled forth from the rolling hills, across the lush meadows and through
their waters, and past its bridges.


An atlas of unrequited love.

Labour

I walked and walked, I tried and tried, I hoped and hoped.
In the end, it is just labour. Labour that does not change what happened or fix
what is broken.
But perhaps, something was learned and something could be healed. It is not
for me to say

Babar Suleman. HOW PERFECT IS THIS HOW BLESSED ARE WE (2021) HD Video 22:11. Image courtesy the artist / author’s own.

Babar Suleman is an artist and writer, and holds a practice-led Doctor of Philosophy in Fine Art from the University of Oxford. A Fulbright scholar, they graduated with an MFA from Parsons School of Design (New York). Recent commissions and grants include b-side festival, Platform Art Projects, Art Council England’s Developing Your Creative Practice, and Compton Verney Art Gallery’s Inclusive Histories Research Fellowship. Suleman is a Senior Lecturer in Filmmaking at the Manchester School of Art.

Power & Patriarchy is generously supported by:

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