Seeds From the Zoo // 2016
“Documentation — or even a contemplative pursuit — is met with a degree of antagonism where public space is almost inaccessible in Cairo. The clamor of the streets have become perpetual and monumental, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to be present as a recorder of things.” (Sara El Adl, Curator of Townhouse Gallery, Cairo.)
Seeds from the Zoo is an imaginative visual response to Cairo’s Giza Zoo vis-à-vis the legacy of European colonialism. Established under British occupation in 1891, the Giza Zoo houses a range of trees native to India, Brazil, Burma, Australia, Madagascar, and the Malay Peninsula that were imported to Egypt via the Suez Canal. Over the course of Dunne’s two-year multidisciplinary project on the zoo’s flora and fauna — or the “living archive” of colonialism — Dunne collected fallen seeds from the site. She reinterpreted each seed by hand-painting hyperreal animals skins on their pods. In doing so, she aimed to highlight the zoo’s imitative nature and sinister superficality.
The collection consists of fifty-six images.