Q : Royal College of Art, London, UK
Shamma’s first solo exhibition in London displayed a series of ten paintings which formed a sixty one foot long Q or ‘queue’. Through the work Shamma explores themes of humanity and group mentality. The queue builds a feeling of anticipation as passers-by assume those in the queue must be waiting for something good and consider whether they should join. During her time in London, Shamma has noticed the British are infamous for queuing – whether it be lining up overnight for the RCA secret postcard sale or avid shoppers waiting for the latest iPhone release. A 2005 survey found that the British spend the equivalent of twenty-three days a year in line. Shamma notes there are also queues that elicit something darker, such as the photographs we have seen showing queues of Syrians in exodus crossing the border. The ‘queue’ has previously been explored in contemporary art such as Roman Ondak’s installation ‘Good Feelings in Good Times’. Shamma has always been curious about the psychology of the queue, Shamma says ‘Each person in the queue might have something positive about them as an individual however, once they become a part of one, they lose their individuality and become part of a larger whole’, a perfect example of this is a herd in the animal kingdom.
Sara Shamma, Q 2013November 2013