Shaheen Ahmed

Artist Researcher Maker

www.strongrooms.org.uk

ZOUAVES STANDING

 

Dorothie Feilding was the Florence Nightingale of the Midlands, driving her ambulance and giving assistance to the wounded and displaced during World War One. Dorothie made reference to French Algerian Zouave soldiers in her letters of corresponence (Reference: CR2017 Feilding papers, Warwickshire County Record) on several occassions to her family back in the Uk.

 

'These Zouaves are wonderful troops, and something so fine about them, and their morale and bravery.'

 

Reading the first hand accounts of Feilding, inspired me to create 'Zouaves Standing'. My homage to Algerian Zouave Soldiers who fought in World War One. Paper Fez hats with the writings, drawings and paintings of Dorothy Fielding to create a cohesive collective narrative.

 

The hats are suspended from the ceiling to create the illusion of tall soldiers on guard, standing in rows. Through Dorothie's documents I find a narrative that speaks to me, has a shared history and identity I can relate to. My installation is a response to the connection I feel to these soldiers. They travelled from their homeland to fight in a War to protect the down trodden and oppressed. With an aim to achieve peace in all the lands the Zouave Soldiers bravely fought alongside their fellow comrades. The hats caste shadows on the wall behind them, leaving a ghostly pressence of their having been amongst us.

 

July 2016