I & R16 Myths & Facts13 (story) Loading...12 Video12 Fayen d'Evie12 Text10 Crisis10 Reproductions9 Sound8 Listening8 Improvements8 Favourable Conditions7 Poetry7 Photography7 Memory7 Environment6 a border can have no boundaries6 Sculpture6 Points of Connection6 Performing the Archive6 Sincerely Yours5 Installation5 Fandom5 Casual-Paradise5 to listen, not to preserve5 Painting5 writing4 Language4 Archives4 Performance3 Augury – The diary of birds3 Artist Walks3 interview3 Labour3 Record3 House of Mother Tongue, House of Other Tongue3 Pandemic3 read2 Precarity2 Textile2 Gentrification2 fiction2 WS × Social Studio2 Essay2 Community2 Paradise2 music2 listen2 The Region1 Anna Dunnill | Processing Plant1 Translation1 vampires1 TERRA: Memory & Soil1 talking1 spoken word1 Angna Mein1 documentation1 Sex1 exhibition1 scores1 Productivity1 Politics1 movement1 dust1 choreography1 interpretation1 Improvisation1 Description1 augury1
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