In 2019 SEAS commissioned Maria Amidu to make a new collaborative work framed by the themes of migration and displacement. The work began with a potluck meal at SEAS, entitled, “a seat at the table” for seven visual artists whose artistic practices have been influenced by experiences of ‘being from elsewhere’.
To catalyse the conversation during the meal Maria made place cards using envelopes she stencilled with the words: homeland, recipes, art, journeys, culture, identity and displacement, instead of the artists’ names. Each envelope contained a handwritten provocation. Midway through the lunch, Maria asked each artist to open their envelope and speak for five minutes about what their word evoked for them. The conversations that took place as a result were recorded.
Listening to these conversations a few weeks later Maria wrote seven short texts using the process of free writing using one word from each of the artists’ monologue as a starting point and writing within a self-imposed, 15-minute deadline. The prompt words from the recording and the provocations words from the meal were: cause (homeland); craving (recipes); urge (art); erasure (journeys); drops (culture); water (identity); and booklet (displacement)
“a seat at the table” was originally, planned as an exhibition during Brighton Festival 2020, incorporating the texts as an artist’s book and a new installation work by Gil Mualem Doron, artist and SEAS’s Director. Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, and after some creative brainstorming, the exhibition is now digital.
Central to the exhibition is somewhere, Maria’s resulting commission piece. Visitors to the site can watch one-minute, experimental films she created using a mobile phone, overlaid with the artists reading the texts. Pages from the artist book and the original texts are also featured on the site.
somewhere is testament to the stories told during “a seat at the table”, by artists with migrant and refugee background and speaks to the troublesome, contingent and precarious nature of being from elsewhere.
The participating artists in the project are:
Ainoa Burgos Gonzalez /Gil Mualem Doron / Edi Jay Mandala / Estabrak / Hong Dam / Maria Amidu / Tugba Tirpan
To view the exhibition please visit here https://tinyurl.com/SEAS-somewhere