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Soufiane Ababri

14. Soufiane Ababri installation view, 2024, The Curve © Eva Herzog and Barbican Art Gallery

Moroccan artist Soufiane Ababri’s new commission, Their mouths were full of bumblebees but it was me who was pollinated, explores questions of desire, queerness, and diaspora.

In his first exhibition at a major UK institution, Ababri transforms The Curve in a new site-specific work. Uniting drawing, performance and installation, his work challenges the dominance of Western narratives in queer history.

The exhibition highlights how The Curve’s shape reflects the Arabic letter Zayin (ز), the first letter of the word ‘zamel’, a derogatory term for gay men, whose buzzing sound is used to insinuate the slur without voicing it in Morocco. Zamel’s evolution from originally meaning close friend shows how homophobia threatens not only same-sex sexuality, but restricts the possibility of radical forms of friendship.

With drawings exploring diasporic queer experience and queer nightlife as a space for collective and personal emancipation, the show is an act of reclamation that subverts architecture, language, and histories.

With special thanks to the dancers involved in the performances: 

Sarah Baugstø

Jordan Jadi

Dak Mashava

Marie-Astrid Mence

Jayla O'Connell

Louis Partridge

Akshay Sharma


Content note 

Please be advised that some works in this exhibition contain illustrated nudity, and that low-level haze is used in the exhibition.


A green 9 sided shape with the word Fluxus in the middle, it is the Fluxus logo
Evening Standard
‘Erotic and full of riotously bright colours‘
The Guardian

Live performance

Book your ticket for the performance

To mark the closing of the exhibition, a series of dance performances will take place in The Curve on Sun 30 Jun.

Developed on-site by Soufiane Ababri in collaboration with Guillaume le Pape, this performance piece reflects on the politics of queer nightlife and themes of marginalisation, resistance and community.

We delve into the nuanced realities of LGBTQIA+ clubs and raves, underscoring how the promise of acceptance and freedom often coexists with societal inequalities. It's a striking call to action that prompts us to collectively rethink how we create and navigate spaces of belonging and resistance.

Performance timings - Sun 30 Jun

Spaces are very limited, so please book ahead to avoid disappointment.

Click through to book here.

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Celebrate Pride with us

Don’t miss the much anticipated return of Classical Pride, our Queer 80s film season, and Soufiane Ababri's exhibition in The Curve.