Esmaa Mohamoud: Double Dribble: The Bentway | Toronto, CA
On this impossible basketball court, how will you write your own rules for play?
Through the illogical use of basketball motifs, Toronto artist Esmaa Mohamoud transforms The Bentway into a surreal basketball court. Double Dribble is comprised of basketball nets of varying diameters — from half the size, to 3X the size of a standard net — and court lines running dysfunctionally throughout The Bentway site. Nets are installed at heights impossible for a human to reach, as well as low enough for a toddler.
With basketball as an access point, Double Dribble is a surreal inquiry into the accessibility of play. Do social identifiers affect our role in play — race, gender, wealth, ability… and how? Are certain demographics encouraged/discouraged to play — whether through abundance/lack of resources, or social grooming/socialization? Further, is “public space” actually public if it is not designed to be welcoming to all — i.e. through visible, physical barriers like space being broken down, or not inclusive of mobility needs, or invisible barriers like what happens to marginalized and racialized communities through gentrification?
Double Dribble pushes the public to reinvent play and even dismantle the rules to play. Without rules, there is a democratization of play with entry points for all communities. Double Dribble is familiar, but invites a reimagining of what’s possible. It points to the creativity and resilience born of what happens when the rules of the game don’t validate our experience — when, instead, we make our own rules.
Commissioned by The Bentway Conservancy
— Curatorial text courtesy of The Bentway