Sometime around 1936, when they started appearing in the evenings, inhabitants stayed indoors and alleys became empty. A few claimed to have seen them but no one recalls how they looked except for a hovering white shine. The ghosts walked the old city and exited through Lions Gate. A month went by and a few daring, followed the white, while they found themselves stalking a family that walked the alleys carrying lumps of fat. Outside the walls, they would burn the fat to scare people while they were digging the graves to take the belongings of the dead. To the ones looking through the window, the fat was the brightest thing visible…
Their interventions around her premise made the nights long and a cat, a shadow or a sound became possibilities for their movement. Night alertness promotes day sleepers. Things she collected from what’s left in the house and arranged in the living room became less present.
Useful objects, decoratives and others with superpowers support us throughout. We perish and they remain, silent but strong, surviving generations of souls. As if they, like vampires, live on us, suck on our souls and go on forever. They become animate incarnations of our suspicions. It goes for objects we inhabit; houses, cars, clothes, all sorts of vessels: we go they stay.
Shadi Habib Allah’s first exhibition at Rodeo is about the condition of ownership. One learns to move and be around one’s very own things and takes them for granted. They are there, the walls, the furniture, the appliances; the animated amongst the inanimate. When we die we take some with us, and then, as history has it, the adventurous and the hubristic find us and leave our very last homes open mouthed, bones facing the sky, the treasure gone. We, the everyman’s Pharaohs.