11.09.2023 | Blog | BY:

Asmaa Jama. Portrait by Kevin Lake. All About Love commission by BUILDHOLLYWOOD, 2023

After a successful launch across five UK cities with new commissions by five leading artists, the final instalment of this national billboard takeover comes to Bristol, led by artist Asmaa Jama. Twin’s digital editor Susanna Davies-Crook caught up with the large-scale public art project’s curator Zarina Rossheart to hear all about love….

Why did you choose Bell Hooks’ masterpiece book All About Love to be the title of this series? 

In the period of time when I was conceiving this project, coming out of the uncertainty of the global pandemic with a sudden war starting in Ukraine and an everyday reminder of ongoing climate crisis, there was heaviness in my heart. I was looking for answers and I wanted to do work that would counter the pain individually and collectively. Reading Bell Hooks’ All About Love in that moment provided inspiration and encouragement. I came across this paragraph that really spoke to me and it became a point of departure for the project:

‘Whether it is the ongoing worldwide presence of violence expressed by the persistence of the man-made war, hunger and starvation, the day-to-day reality of violence, the presence of life-threatening diseases that cause the unexpected deaths of friends, comrades, and loved ones, there is much that brings everyone to the brink of despair. Knowing love or the hope of knowing love is the anchor that keeps us from falling into the sea of despair’. – Bell Hooks

Helen Cammock, ‘the deepest crease in the fold of stone and the sweet taste of salt’ (2023). All About Love commission by BUILDHOLLYWOOD. Courtesy the artist. Photo_ Kevin Lake

What is your hope for the effect of the billboards on people who pass them?

I have always worked in public realm and hardly ever inside galleries. To me the billboards are the outdoor canvas for the artists to bring their work closer to everyone without exception. It is for the street workers and night workers as much as for anyone else passing by on their way about their life. As opposed to advertising that we are so used to, and immune to in a way, the art on billboards makes you stop, feel and hopefully contemplate life. It also allows to make invisible, unrepresented or other come to the forefront: For conversations held behind closed doors to become a shared or communal experience. It’s about amplification, being louder and having the courage to take up space.

Asmaa Jama, Except This Time Nothing Comes Back From The Ashes. Courtesy of Asmaa Jama and Gouled Ahmed. All About Love commission by BUILDHOLLYWOOD, 2023 Photo by Kevin Lake

Has anything unexpected happened as a result of embarking on this project?

The magic and mystery of working with artists leaves a lot of space to the unexpected and the unknown. I find beauty and meditation in that. I guess I could have never predicted though that the project would unfold in such an expansive and generous way. Including sharing difficult personal life moments with artists, and building incredibly supportive relationships that inspire me and hopefully the audience to continue on our chosen paths. 

Eve Stainton, You can take the _ out of _, 2023. All About Love commission by Buildhollywood. Courtesy the artist. Collage feat photography by David Laskowski, Stephen Bishop and Eve Stainton (48 sheet)


‘All About Love’ is BUILDHOLLYWOOD’s first major curatorial and artist commission that took over large-format billboards across Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Glasgow and Manchester between April – September 2023. The project champions artists who are either born in those cities or live and work there, curated by Zarina Rossheart.

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