The Djahazi boat has been for centuries the only means of transportation for Comorians, a way to communicate with the nearby countries and to create new commercial relations. In 2006, following the modernization of the port, the use of the Djahazi was prohibited, thus interrupting a longstanding tradition of Comorian dockers on the islands and placing the Comoros in a new chapter of global economy.
In 2008 Paolo W Tamburella traveled to Comoros to investigate what happened to the dockers and to their boats. He discovered that the Djahazis had been abandoned in the port and were sinking in the water. In a month long effort the artist and the dockers focused on the restoration process of one Djahazi with the goal to ship it and present it in Venice. The Djahazi was split in half and placed in a 40ft container that is currently traveling on a cargo boat to Europe.
Two weeks before the opening of the Biennale the container, the artist and the dockers will arrive in Venice. The Djahazi will be reassembled, loaded with a shipping container as it was up to 2006, to finally dock in the water area in front of the main entrance to the Giardini for all the duration of the Biennale .
In the words of Octavio Zaya in his essay for the Biennale general catalogue:
“Paolo W. Tamburella has fixed and restored one of the twenty eight boats forsaken at the port, with the help of workers from Moroni, but not as an antiquarian and nostalgic affectation. On the contrary, in Venice, this vessel, which will be loaded with a regular shipping container used in most of today’s trade, will stand as a metaphor for an ambivalent globality, bringing together hope and despair […] emergence and emergency, in a sort of cautionary tale about the new forms of the expendable in a world of uncertainty and transition […].’”