This exhibition brings together the work of three artists: Yhonnie Scarce, Salote Tawale and Osman Yousefzada.
Australian Aboriginal artist Yhonnie Scarce shows a major new suspended glass installation, The Near Breeder (2022). Born in Woomera, South Australia, Scarce belongs to the Kokatha and Nukunu peoples. Working with glass, she explores the political nature and aesthetic qualities of the material – in particular corresponding to the crystallisation of desert sand as a result of British nuclear tests on her homeland during 1956-63 in Maralinga, formerly part of the Woomera Prohibited Area. The Near Breeder comprises approximately 600 individually hand-blown glass shapes that resemble yams. Hanging from the ceiling, they evoke both an explosion and a cloud of inverted water drops, marking the many deaths resulting from nuclear tests. The work, produced at the University of Wolverhampton, is the culmination of Scarce’s Ikon residency (2020-22).
Ikon also presents new works by Fijian-Australian artist Salote Tawale and British-Pakistani artist Osman Yousefzada as part of the UK/Australia Season 2021-22, the largest ever cultural exchange between the two nations. Made in Birmingham/Made in Sydney is a ground-breaking collaboration between the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) in Sydney and Ikon, through which Tawale and Yousefzada explore questions of identity and belonging via two new video artworks.
Salote Tawale’s work YOU, ME, ME, YOU (2022) features footage made by the artist, family and friends; it is a montage of imagery that combines role-play, television reenactments, social media posts and an imaginary pop video. Exploring themes of proximity, distance and friendship, this work includes a cast of collaborators who re-perform aspects of their shared experiences during a period of isolation and restriction due to COVID-19.
Osman Yousefzada’s work Spaces of Transcendence (2022), filmed in sites of ritual in Pakistan, is a story of environments, characters and gestures. Here a secret language and its repetition is deployed in accessing a space of transcendence where the needs of marginalised voices are heard. Occupying centre ground are the Fakir/Yogi (Brides of God), the Khawaja Sara (a Transgender person) and the Feminine Male (distinct from the Khawaja Sara). The new works by Salote Tawale and Osman Yousefzada will also launch online via Ikon and MCA websites.
Made in Birmingham/Made in Sydney and The Near Breeder are supported by the UK/Australia Season Patrons, the Australian Government, the British Council, and Creative Partnerships Australia through the Australian Cultural Fund as part of the UK/Australia Season 2021-22.
This exhibition is part of Ikon’s Arrivals programme for Summer 2022, concerned with the international movement of people and ideas and organised to coincide with the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
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