Leviathan is an ambitious multi-year interdisciplinary project that looks at the key issue of our day: how do we understand the intersection between climate change, migration and mental health in our shared ecosystems?.

In dialogue with a wide range of marine biologists, oceanographers, political scientists, neurologists, evolutionary geneticists, forensic anthropologists, trauma specialists and activists, Leviathan Cycle is set 20-50 years into the future, envisaging a future eerily like our present to consider possible links between borders, psychological trauma and human and marine ecologies. Every film in Leviathan Cycle is a universe unto itself, and follows the journeys of a cast of characters who are the survivors of a cataclysmic solar event.

Taking a global and collective approach, Leviathan Cycle reflects on the systemic crises within our biosphere, to imagine where we might end up if we fail to gain a deeper understanding of the intersections between fields of knowledge and ways of living, across and between human and more-than-human ecologies.

Inaugurated in Venice in May 2017 to coincide with the 57th Art Biennale, the project has since expanded to comprise a 10 part film cycle, a Virtual Reality trilogy, sculptures, paintings, neon and an extensive public programme and research archive bringing together scientists, philosophers, activists, anthropologists, futurists, trauma specialists, oceanographers and climatologists. With 8 episodes of the film cycle now complete, Leviathan has so far been the subject of solo presentations at 17 international institutions, 5 international biennials, and with a further 4 confirmed venues to come in 2023/24.

It has also been presented at film festivals including CPH:DOX (Copenhagen, DK), Oberhausen (Oberhausen, DE), and Kino der Kunst (Munich, DE) and at one-off screenings and special events with partners including Elephant Magazine and the Goethe Institut. Each presentation becomes a unique curatorial dialogue extending from the evolving body of Leviathan material.

Further details about upcoming exhibitions, screenings and events can be found below. Further details about past presentations can be found here.


Recent Press

Shezad Dawood’s ‘Leviathan’ Is An Experiential Procession Between the Pews of Salisbury Cathedral
Read Here

‘I’m staggered this isn’t front-page news’: the ‘provocative’ climate art that ended up in a cathedral
Read Here

Public Programme

Through a dynamic Public Programme, Leviathan brings together specialists from the fields of marine welfare, migration and mental health that the artist has been in dialogue with to inform the project. These curated events and conversations anchor the project in the present challenges that we face as a global community.

Recordings of all conversations can be found here Research papers commissioned and published by Leviathan can be found here.

Institutional Partners

Supporting Partners

special thanks

Taimur Hassan
The Ekard Collection
Theodore & Maria Fatsis
Sejal Firodia, The White Canvas, Pune, India
The Roden Collection
Nadia von Christierson
Sylvain & Karen Levy
Brown Family Collection
Pippa Hornby
Jason Zeloof
Donors who wish to remain anonymous


artist & director

Shezad Dawood

art direction & design

OK-RM, London

curatorial management & development

Kaia Goodenough

partnerships & vr producer

Miranda Sharp

production manager

Laurie Storey

film producer

Elizabeth Benjamin


+44 (0) 203 914 0590