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Build Hollywood

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Build Hollywood

Build Hollywood

Asmaa Jama

Bristol 8–10 September


About the work

Asmaa Jama’s All About Love commission builds on from their film ‘Except this time nothing returns from the ashes’ (2022) that was shot in Addis Ababa in collaboration with Gouled Ahmed. Combining poetry and music, the film explores how national canons are constructed and can be corrupted. The work is a documentation of the artists’ interactions with their families’ photographic collections and archives, placing emphasis on self-portraiture and its ability to combat erasure. The film is commissioned by Spike island, Bristol and is on view until the 10th September 2023. 

The work for All About Love is a selection of photographic stills from the film captioned with fragments of poetic text. The images feature scenes where the characters face the camera, and question the viewer’s gaze and complicity in their erasure and annihilation. Jama is interested in the possibility of disseminating the film in other formats. The possibility of capturing the story in stills, paying homage to the idea of photography and self-portraiture, and the ways communities have archived themselves and their stories.


About Asmaa Jama

Asmaa Jama is a Somali multidisciplinary artist, writer and filmmaker based in Bristol. Their work is interested in myth, movement and migration. 

Asmaa’s first film work Before We Disappear (2021), was an interactive moving image piece commissioned by BBC Arts, followed by The Season of Burning Things (2021), in collaboration with Gouled Ahmed, commissioned by the Bristol Old Vic (2021) and Except this time nothing returns from the ashes (2022), commissioned by Spike Island. Their work has also been presented at the Venice Architecture Biennale in collaboration with the Goethe Institute and Theatre Neumarkt’s 100 Ways to Say We Programme (2021), and was the official selection at Blackstar Film Festival, Aesthetica Film Festival and Sharjah Film Platform 5 (2022).

Jama’s writing has been commissioned by Jerwood Arts, Hayward Gallery, Arnolfini and Ifa Gallery, Berlin. Their written works have been published in places like The Poetry Review, Nataal and Magma. In theatre, they have written for, and are performing in, Dorothee Munyaneza’s Mailles, and have written for Radouan Mrziga’s Akal.

Jama was commended for the Brunel African Poetry Prize (2022); and shortlisted for the New Poets Prize (2022) Queen Mary Wasafiri Writing Prize (2021); James Berry Poetry Prize (2021); To Speak Europe in Other Languages prize (2020), and longlisted for National Poetry Competition ( 2021 ) and is a Cave Canem Fellow. Jama was also an artist-in-residence at the School for Sonic Memory, Mucem/Onassis Stegi (2022) and In Between Time Festival, Bristol (2019).

They are a Film London FLAMIN fellow (2022); a resident artist at Somerset House Studios and a Barbican Young Poet.



The weekend-long takeover from 8-10 September will see Jama’s work presented on twenty billboards located in prominent sites across Bristol including Temple Gate, West Street, Old Market Roundabout and Kingsland Road.

View all locations on map


Special Events & Performances 

On the 9th September Asmaa Jama in will present an outdoor public reading of the poetic text from ‘Except this time nothing returns from the ashes’ at West Street that will take place at 1pm. They will be joined by a guest collaborator okcandice, a writer, artist-curator and musician based between Birmingham and Berlin.

okcandice are a Jerwood Arts Curatorial Fellow and an Obsidian Foundation Fellow. Their practice concerns uses of text in performance; exploring methodologies of grief through sound in the collective space. Elsewhere, they consider the production, preservation, and maintenance of Black audio/visual archives and libraries through analog and digital technology. okcandice is the founder of the queer film series all fruits ripe and the host of Must Be The Music on Refuge Worldwide.





Images: Asmaa Jama, Except This Time Nothing Comes Back From the Ashes. Courtesy of Asmaa Jama and Gouled Ahmed. All About Love commission by BUILDHOLLYWOOD, 2023. Photo by Kevin Lake.

Videos: performances by Asmaa Jama and okcandice at West Street, Bristol 2023. All About Love commission by BUILDHOLLYWOOD, 2023. Videos by Kunstraum Productions.