Soufiane Ababri

Wednesday, March 13, 2024 - Sunday, June 30, 2024 Barbican Centre Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS

Moroccan artist Soufiane Ababri’s new commission, Their mouths were full of bumblebees but it was me who was pollinated, explores questions of desire, queerness, and diaspora.

In his first exhibition at a major UK institution, Ababri transforms The Curve in a new site-specific work. Uniting drawing, performance and installation, his work challenges the dominance of Western narratives in queer history.

The exhibition highlights how The Curve’s shape reflects the Arabic letter Zayin (ز), the first letter of the word ‘zamel’, a derogatory term for gay men, whose buzzing sound is used to insinuate the slur without voicing it in Morocco. Zamel’s evolution from originally meaning close friend shows how homophobia threatens not only same-sex sexuality, but restricts the possibility of radical forms of friendship.

With drawings exploring diasporic queer experience and queer nightlife as a space for collective and personal emancipation, the show is an act of reclamation that subverts architecture, language, and histories.

Opening hours

Daily 11am—7pm
Bank Holidays 12pm—7pm