Osman Yousefzada’s public art commission transforms Selfridges Birmingham


On Monday 26 July, Selfridges Birmingham unveils a new, large scale art installation by multidisciplinary artist Osman Yousefzada.

Titled Infinity Pattern 1, the temporary architectural structure transforms Birmingham’s skyline, covering the iconic Selfridges building and injecting it with a bold colour palette of pinks and black, arranged in a striking tessellated pattern. This major public artwork – part of Selfridges long-established commitment to supporting creativity in the cities its stores call home – will remain in its completed state until the end of the year while the store undergoes renovation work. The work is co-commissioned with Ikon, who led an international competition to find the winning design and presented Osman’s first solo exhibition, Being Somewhere Else in 2018.

A radical new landmark for the city, Infinity Pattern 1 addresses the issues of race, labour and migration which have shaped Birmingham’s past and present. Contrasting the weight of these themes, the work also carries a deep sense of optimism, connectivity and hope. For Osman, who is Birmingham-born and the son of Afghani-Pakistani migrants, the work contains some autobiographical elements, but at its core it stages the concept of a world without borders, whether physical or in the mind, represented by the endlessly tessellating pattern.

The work is entrenched in autoethnographic elements of migration, community formation and how they happen, interact and settle. The work reflects my personal story and more widely my ethnic history and some of the symbolisms inherent to my culture. Osman Yousefzada

The commission is complemented by an in-store art exhibition, shop and art trail, co-designed and co-curated with Ikon, as part of an ongoing creative relationship between the gallery and the store. Read more here.

After leading the search for an artist to work with Selfridges it’s exciting to see the transformation of Birmingham’s skyline thanks to Osman Yousefzada’s “Infinity Pattern” enveloping this iconic building with extraordinary visual impact. The work smartly conveys his ongoing preoccupation with the nature of cultural identity, a basic human need for belonging and the experience of migration, and these themes will be developed further through an exciting programme of events taking place instore as part of Ikon’s Migrant Festival in August. It couldn’t be more right for this city. Jonathan Watkins, Director, Ikon

Selfridges is celebrating the communities of Birmingham through a unique art commission that represents both optimism and transformation. This new work by Osman Yousefzada is uplifting but also meaningful and deeply connected to the fabric and culture of the city. By changing the skyline – at a time when the city itself is changing – we hope to make the world brighter through creative expression, and the people of Birmingham even prouder of their iconic city. Hannah Emslie, Selfridges Creative Director

Images: Installation view, Osman Yousefzada, Infinity Pattern 1 (2021). Selfridges, Birmingham, UK. Photo by Jason Alden.

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