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Marwa Arsanios: Who Is Afraid of Ideology? at Blenheim Walk Gallery

April 29–July 23, 2022

The Blenheim Walk Gallery will be reopened by Leeds Arts University with an exhibition by the artist, filmmaker, and researcher Marwa Arsanios. In this topical exhibition of Marwa Arsanios’ critical practice, Who Is Afraid of Ideology? includes the entire film quadrilogy in addition to a tapestry piece.

Arsanios confronts long-standing political and socioeconomic systems of exploitation and oppression by presenting alternative methods of coexisting with nature through collaborative and multidisciplinary research and filmmaking. The anti-colonial struggles of women, which are characterized by collectivism, self-defense, and care, serve as an inspiration for broader social and political reform.

Arsanios discusses modes of self-governance and knowledge creation that have sprung from the Kurdish autonomous women’s movement in Parts 1 (2017) and 2 (2019) of Who Is Afraid of Ideology? The third and final installment, Micro Resistencias (2020), is set in Tolima, Colombia, and focuses on the ongoing systemic conflict between transnational companies and seeds, the smallest and most fundamental component of life. Part 4: A Letter Inside a Letter (2020–present), the final film in this quadrilogy, explores the concepts of heredity, ownership, property, and value by challenging neoliberal politics of visibility and invisibility. This is a clip from the movie, which just had its Documenta 15 debut.

Who Is Afraid of Ideology? is the first exhibition to be held in the University’s gallery in over two years after it was forced to close due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Marwa Arsanios was born in 1978 in Washington, DC, United States. Her present residence and place of employment are Berlin and Beirut. Artist, filmmaker, and researcher Arsanios reexamines mid-twentieth-century politics from a modern standpoint, putting a special emphasis on gender relations, spatial practices, and land battles. She examines the modern echo of past resistances. Working across fields, Arsanios takes a collaborative approach to research. The Research Project 98weeks was founded with her.

Arsanios has shown in solo and group exhibitions at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2021); Berlin Biennale (2020); Warsaw Biennial (2019); Sharjah Biennial (2019); Gwangju Biennial (2018); Luleå Biennial (2018); Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana (2018); Beirut Art Center (2017); From Ear to Ear to Eye, Nottingham Contemporary (2017); Home Return, MAXXI, Rome (2017); HERE AND NOW, Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2016); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2016); Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2016); Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon (2015); Art in General, New York (2015); Thessaloniki Biennial (2015); Home Works Forum, Ashkal Alwan, Beirut (2010, 2013, 2015); Here and Elsewhere, New Museum, New York (2014); 55th Venice Biennale (2013); Meeting Points 7—Ten Thousand Wiles and a Hundred Thousand Tricks, M HKA, Antwerp (2013); and 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011), among others. Screenings of her videos have taken place at the CPH:DOX – Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival (2018), Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2011, 2017); Berlinale (2010, 2015). Arsanios was a researcher in the Fine Art Department at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (2010–12). She is currently a PhD candidate at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna.

Leeds Arts University
Founded in 1846 as the Leeds Government School of Art and Design, Leeds Arts University has contributed significantly to the development of art education in Britain and across the world. In 2016 the University was granted Taught Degree Awarding Powers, and in 2017 was awarded full university status, making it the only specialist arts university in the North of England.

Leeds Arts University has been recognised for its industry-standard facilities at the Whatuni awards (winners in 2019 and 2016, runner up in 2020), and was announced winner for Student Support in 2020. In 2021 Leeds Arts University appointed acclaimed musician Skin to the role of Chancellor.

Blenheim Walk Gallery at Leeds Arts University
Blenheim Walk
West Yorkshire
Leeds LS2 9AQ
Hours: Monday–Saturday 10am–4pm

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