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MiSK Art 2018 Festival, Saudi Arabia

Ships of the Desert Performance

Visual & Performance Artist Rachel Gadsden in collaboration with Composer Freddie Meyers


Ships of the Desert - MiSK Festival, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2019.

Ships of the Desert 
Tuesday 30th October, 2018 - Saturday 3rd November, 2018


Rachel Gadsden and Freddie Meyers had the opportunity in 2018 to travel to the main historical sites across Jordan, and visited Petra, Kerak, Wadi Rum etc, and the opportunity to witness, not only refugee stories as part of Gadsden's Narratives of Displacement project but also to understand the historical context of the Jordanian culture and the land was an exceptional experience.

Ultimately this experience gave Gadsden and Meyers the inspiration to create “Ships of the Desert” a “live” art and music performance which was commissioned by MiSK Art Festival 2018, Saudi Arabia.

"Ships of the Desert" performance focuses on both historical and contemporary desert migration, and is inspired by Gadsden’s recent artistic collaborations with refugees in Jordan, UK, and Germany, her artistic responses and research of the Nabateans Empire, and the ancient frankincense trade route of Arabia. The desert trade journeys of the past are juxtaposed with contemporary migrations, expressed through the voices of the women, sounds, music and live dramatic expressionist art performance, to stimulate powerful evocative responses. The performance portrays both the beauty and the challenges of present-day diaspora, to consider how individuals throughout history have undertaken demanding desert journeys and how these journeys influence our understanding of the rich heritage of Arabia.

Live recording and video footage of Ships of the Desert Performance MiSK Art Festival: