Ali Cherri: Of Men and Gods and Mud

Museo Amparo


March 11-22


Museo Amparo

Time: museum hours

Admission: with museum entrance

The story of the Flood as world-maker is in fact the story of mud. Religion and Science converge in a place where earth and water meet. If mud had its own memory, what might it deem worth remembering?

But something of the old awe remains, of mud’s mysterious force: not earth or water, but both and neither. The place where the two edges of the world meet. Neither liquid nor solid, it shifts perpetually beneath our feet. 

-from Of Men and Gods and Mud (2022)

To respond to the great ecological, technological, and political transformations shaping society today, a sense of fantasy and imagination is required. In the multichannel video installation Of Men and Gods and Mud (2022), Ali Cherri envisions the metamorphic capacity of mud. As a material that embodies a rich liminal space between earth and water, it holds vast creative potential. Mud has persisted as an object of materiality and mythology throughout history–existing as both an instrumental construction tool and the foundation of countless creatures in origin stories across civilizations. Shot at the Merowe Dam on the Nile River in Northern Sudan, the video follows a group of brickmakers. The construction of the dam – the largest hydropower plant in Africa – in the early 2000s led to the displacement of more than 50,000 people, social unrest, and the destruction of ecosystems. Against the backdrop of this imposing structure, the workers’ humble task of transforming mud into brick is nothing short of heroic and presents new possibilities that emerge between destruction and creation. 

Photo: Ali Cherri, Of Men and Gods and Mud, 2022