Basma Alsharif

February 14—April 14, 2019

Floor 3

Basma Alsharif’s exhibition at MOCA intertwines four major works, each one presented as a staged setting. Using many different media, she takes us on journeys into the collective subconscious, exploring the tools we all use to understand the ghosts of history.

At the centre of the exhibition is a new work, A Philistine, 2018, that invites visitors to settle into an armchair and enter a story that moves backwards in time. The core element is a novella—a story, broken into three genres: History, Fantasy, and Erotica. Beginning in a present-day Lebanon, the narrative travels through 1935 Palestine, and ends in New Kingdom Egypt (16th-11th century B.C.E).

Alsharif stages each of her works in a familiar, domestic setting, often including plants and furniture. These intimate scenarios, invite us to spend time with the more nuanced content that is the focus of the work — in literature, images, and video. By editing together both sourced and created materials, Alsharif exposes those times in history that seem irrational, and impossible to tell from one point of view.

Alsharif’s exhibition opens at the same time as that of seminal filmmaker Chantal Akerman. The artists share many concerns – geopolitical definitions, the collapsing of histories and how we form individual versus collective memory.

*Fifty copies of the novella, half in English and half in vernacular Arabic (in Palestinian Dialect) will be available to read within the space


Basma Alsharif is an Artist/Filmmaker born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents, raised between France, the U.S. and Gaza, she is currently based in Cairo. Alsharif has exhibited internationally including in New York City, Berlin; Sharjah; São Paulo, Murcia, Tokyo, and Paris.

A Philistine, by Basma Alsharif is supported by The Consortium Commissions – a project initiated by Mophradat with institutional partners including MOCA Toronto, Hammer Museum, LA; CCA, Glasgow and KW, Berlin.

Friday evenings in March 2019
Artist and writer Lisa Steele is organizing a series of talks and screenings that intersect, interact, or just plain act up with the lively resonances that exist between the iconic contemplations of Chantal Akerman and the deeply, contemporary investigations of Basma Alsharif.


Public Programs featured during the exhibitions of Chantal Akerman and Basma Alsharif are co-presented by Images Festival.

A closing weekend performance by Lido Pimienta on April 12, is programmed by Images Festival and co-presented by MOCA.

Basma Alsharif, A Philistine, 2018, (detail). Image sourced from Library of Congress.