I & R16 Myths & Facts13 (story) Loading...12 Fayen d'Evie12 Video11 Text10 Crisis10 Reproductions9 Sound8 Improvements8 Favourable Conditions7 Poetry7 Photography7 Listening7 Memory7 Environment6 Sculpture6 Performing the Archive6 Points of Connection6 a border can have no boundaries6 Painting5 Installation5 Casual-Paradise5 Sincerely Yours5 to listen, not to preserve5 Fandom5 Archives4 Language4 writing4 Artist Walks3 Augury – The diary of birds3 Pandemic3 Record3 Performance3 Labour3 WS × Social Studio2 Precarity2 Gentrification2 Textile2 music2 Community2 read2 fiction2 Essay2 interview2 Paradise2 listen2 vampires1 spoken word1 dust1 Angna Mein1 The Region1 exhibition1 Anna Dunnill | Processing Plant1 Translation1 movement1 documentation1 Sex1 scores1 Productivity1 Politics1 Improvisation1 augury1 interpretation1 choreography1 Description1
Leila el Rayes

I have been working with a group of writers and creatives for many months now, for West Space’s online platform OFFSITE. 

With my invitation to be a part of this collection, I asked Shareeka, Sofiyah, Hana and Tabitha to respond to the theme of ‘Casual-Paradise’ in any way they felt drawn to. I settled on the theme not long after the last lockdown of 2021, awoken serendipitously by a recommended YouTube video at 3am. 

 

What does paradise look like to you?

For me, it’s laughter around a dinner table. 

 

Then I wondered what others imagined it to be. 

 

Contributions to this issue of OFFSITE are imaginative as such. They are diaristic and personal, portals to other worlds inside and beyond. With lightness and lucidity, their authors present us with recurring themes of grief, friendship, utopia, healing and the reciprocity of interior and exterior worlds, in combination, in allyship, in secret, in spite of each other.  

As a project that has rumbled along for many months, it feels strange to make it publicly known without acknowledging how recent times have been curdled with grief in my community. At the time of publishing, the notion of paradise is entwined with connotations of the afterlife. 

 

To our friends 

here 

there

in between 

and those travelling endlessly everywhere

Leila el Rayes’ work celebrates vulnerability between melding identities and contexts. Working across sculpture, costume-making performance and video, their practice delves into ideas of hardship, desire and uncertainty to uncover moments of intricacy, fragility and beauty.

 

*This iteration of West Space OFFSITE has been realised with technical and editorial support from Louis Graham and Leila Doneo Baptist