Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme

Only the beloved keeps our secrets

 10th September – 24th October 2016

‘Only the beloved keep our secrets’ is Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme’s first solo exhibition in the North-east of England and a European premiere. A single screen video and sound piece, the work weaves together a fragmented script sampled from online recordings of everyday ritual and performance (through song and dance) and everyday erasures, alongside other material, ambiguous landscapes, growing plants in an abandoned development.

Collected over the last five years, mostly from Palestine, moments from this material appear as moving layers with images building in density on top of each other, obscuring what came before in an accumulation of constant testament and constant erasure. Retrieving, in this unfolding accumulation and dissipation of testament, certain moments that have passed us by as noise, what we can not turn to see and what we can not turn away from, uncounted bodies counter their own erasures, appearing on a street, on a link, on a feed. Words from their songs are broken up and reformed. Maybe it is here between seeing and not seeing, between appearance and disappearance, that what could be retrieved from the wreck can be glimpsed.

‘Only the beloved keep our secrets’ is structured around footage taken from an Israeli military surveillance camera, an act that makes us consider how bodies and images are erased and dispossessed and how these same bodies and images can repossess themselves and reappear.

In March 2014, 14 year old Yusuf a-Shawamreh crossed the ‘separation fence’ erected by the Israeli military near Hebron. He was going to pick Akoob an edible plant that is a delicacy in Palestinian cuisine. Israeli forces ambushed him and shot him dead. Military surveillance cameras captured partial images, and was obtained by Btselem and released online. The footage does not show the act of killing itself rather the events before and after. Three tiny figures walk in an abstract landscape, bodies squeeze through a barbed fence, cross a highway and run through a field, two other figures hide in the bushes, a military jeep comes down the highway, a figure is dragged to the jeep by three soldiers, more soldiers go into the bushes and carry a body on a stretcher back to the jeep.

Courtesy of the artists and Abraaj Art Prize

An in Conversation between the artists and Elisabetta Fabrizi, Curator of Artist Film at Tyneside Cinema, will take place on 9th September at 6.00pm.

Look at:

Roberto Bolaño, ‘The Savage detectives’ (

Giorgio Agamben, What is Contemporary? (

Victor Serge, Unforgiving years (

Adrienne Rich, Diving into the wreck (

Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou, Dispossession: The performative in the political (

Nav Haq, The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2016 (

Greil Marcus, Lipstick traces: A secret history of the 20th Century (