Sarah Al-Sarraj

Installation view of Terra Erṣetu at Once More With Feeling curated with Angelica Sule 2022

Sarah works with painting, graphic novels, writing, and moving images. Her practice focuses on a curiosity with the unseen – secrets, power, fantasy, and dreams – through the reproduction of iconography from a wide range of sources, including popular culture and the colonial visual archive.

Terra Erṣetu

Terra Erṣetu, meaning Land of Wilderness, fuses ancient knowledge with speculation to imagine a cult of people living in the unknown, in an emotional geography, beyond the bounds of any literal or established civilisation. Their home, not a state but a state of being.

Inspired by Mesopotamian iconography, showing men killing and taming lions, thought to represent man’s virile mastery over nature, this collective takes the figure of the lion and everything it represents – unruly wilderness, nature, and her secrets – as their symbolic liberation. While history is littered, over and over again, with representations of sacrificial lions and sacrificial women, the characters depicted live in harmony with the wild, viewing themselves as a part of it. Imbued with the ability to understand nature, they do not seek to know, own, or master their surroundings but instead, nurture a radical and cyclical relationship with nature, desire, sexuality, queerness and violence.