In this boundaryless exhibition, 22 artists representing more than two dozen countries respond to the prompt "WHERE YOU FROM?" to challenge traditional notions of identity and home. Each image features an artwork that represents the artist's identity photographed within a space of belonging. Curated by artists Shirin Majid and Anna Rose Kerr, the work will be installed 11-12 January 2024 at Safehouse in Peckham (follow below for updates).
OF THE BODY OF THE BONES OF THE FLESH, installed in the artist's studio in London
“I have taken a discarded bed head and painted it to resemble dark, gothic wood. The work is speaking about the difficulty of the relationship between queerness and domesticity, how something familiar can become unfamiliar through this lens, thereby becoming a form of the uncanny. The artwork has been photographed within a setting I feel very at home, which is my studio space, where I spend the majority of my time.
Alongside looking at the relationship between the uncanny to the queer domestic, I am also looking at the parallels between body image, queerness and horror - again my relationship to my body has often felt disjointed and abject, verging into the realms of body horror. Within the work the body is centre-piece, taking inspiration from Renaissance drawings and sculptures of Christ lying in a shroud, there is a mystery as to the state of this body, it appears similar to the composition of the corpse paintings, but with closer examination the figure is actually lying in a dark bedroom, wrapped around duvets, a place of comfort and safety. The figure appears illuminated against the hazy darkness of the heavily glazed background. The uncertainty of the body brings feelings of the uncanny.
Finally, the use of a bed head as the support of the work is an obvious link to the domestic, but the piece of furniture was originally cheap pine, and I had painted it so as to look like old gothic wood - this theatricality feels reminiscent of prop making and matte film sets, like those of German Expressionist films. The manipulation of the bed head into something grander than its original state relates to the queer idea of creating and evolving one's identity after a period of suppression."
Hannah Kate Absalom (b.1998) is a visual artist originally from Northumberland, having studied at The Glasgow School of Art to achieve their Fine Art BAHons (2016-2020) and currently studying their MFA at Central Saint Martins (2022-2024). Absalom’s practice is a surreal, camp and grotesque reflection of the relationship between queerness, horror, domesticity and iconography. Through the mediums of oil-painting, printmaking, installation and moving-image the artist blends the sacred, the medieval and Science-Fiction, lending from the camp and overly-saturated graphics of classic horror and Sci-Fi.
Mae installed in Fitzrovia Chapel in London
"'Little Black Girls’ is a series of artworks that symbolises blackness, ethnicity, womanhood, power, royalty and religion. Black girls need to see images of themselves, they need to be empowered, they need to be treated fairly. If they are are not seen and continue to be underrepresented and not celebrated in all art forms in society, these girls will enter adulthood and lack self identity, history and self worth. These girls should not have to grow up in a world where the odds are stacked against them based purely on their skin colour.”
Hailing from the small Indian Ocean island of Mahé in Seychelles, Christian Azolan is a mixed-media visual artist who enjoys working in the following fine art mediums, photography, painting, digital and gilding. Christian was educated in the UK and calls London home. He holds BA in Fashion Design from Ravensbourne and an MA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins.
Fragmented, installed outside Bar Benteveo in Madrid
“With colours inspired by the matriarchal influences in my upbringing, symbolising the strength and diversity of the women who shaped my identity, I have intricately woven significant dates and postcodes, each a nod to unlocking fragments of my personal history. The photograph of the artwork is captured against the backdrop of my favourite bar, chosen with meticulous care to evoke a profound sense of belonging. Fragmented not only encapsulates the essence of my matriarchal upbringing but also stands as a poignant reflection on the intricate tapestry of complexities and uncertainties that accompany the perennial question, "Where am I from?"
Rosie Behri is a multidisciplinary creative, fusing graphic design, photography, art direction and illustration to make for a truly diverse practice. She is consistently interested in exploring themes that champion diversity, sustainability and feminism. Alongside her curiosity for subcultures and coteries, she also has a strong passion for print, specifically experimental printing processes.
Homelands, image of St Vincent and the Grenadines taken in 1986 + recent video stills from Norwegian landscape.
“Norway is a homeland. A home. Perhaps? It’s a contested place. A place of tension. A part of me is there, still remains there, but there’s also a disconnection. I feel this exact way about the Caribbean. A place I have been trying and failing to return for decades. Most recently, in 2020, when so much fell apart. It was the closest I got to returning ‘home’.”
Dionne Elizabeth is a transdisciplinary, transcultural and transnational human, straddling worlds, places and spaces. She incorporates a range of disciplines and crossover mediums including text, installation, sound design, radio, mixed media, sonification of biodata, photography, performance, film, immersive tech like VR, AR, embodiment, radio and performance.
Last Supper, installed in the artist’s studio in Peckham, London
“The Last Supper is a deeply personal piece about the togetherness of my family, in the south of Portugal shortly before they died, at their home. They were all huge characters and storytellers and we would always sit at a long table outside at the back of the house, people constantly passing in and out. At any one time on a Monday night, there could be 30 people gathered. The art of storytelling was key and I learnt so much from observing and the sensory power of cooking, gesture, dancing, Marlboro Reds and madronha will be forever in my bones. When I lost them all from 2011-2016, I lost myself and painting and working through my practice has been my way back to them, and myself.”
Annie Frost Nicholson (formerly The Fandangoe Kid) is a London-based multidisciplinary artist whose work seeks to smash taboos around the nuanced complexities of the human condition. Through a curious, colourful and considered lens, Frost Nicholson’s practice looks at what it means to be alive, and her preoccupation with life, death, grief and all their permeations follows her own devastating loss of family members twelve years ago, at the age of twenty-seven.
Waiting Place, installed in the artist’s home office in Kent, UK
“Being a carer to my two disabled children has become a central part of my identity. As a carer, I spend a lot of my life waiting in NHS waiting rooms. This image is my response to the particular rhythm and emotion that is attached to such a space.”
Tom Grey is a digital artist, based in Kent, UK. His practice focuses on exploring new ways to apply technology to art, and the balance between control (the intent of the artist) and chance (the will of the medium). He uses and blends diverse technical tools to achieve his work, including procedural generation, 3d rendering, photographic manipulation, and generative artificial intelligence. His work explores themes of loss, resilience, and the emotions attached to spaces and objects.Tom is currently studying a Masters in Digital Fine Art at Central St Martins in London. Prior to the death of his wife in 2022, he worked as a technology leader at companies including Google, IBM, and WPP. Outside of his studies, he is a full-time carer to his two amazing children, who have disabilities. He walks every day, and is inspired by the patterns and chance that he finds in nature.
Have You Seen Her, installed in the artist’s home
“When I paint, I act like a surrogate mother, carrying the woman in my paintings away from
the digitally sourced image; the image of these women can well up to the surface like ghost
figures. Death lingering at the perimeter, ebbing and flowing, permeating at the edges.
Tapping my shoulder, enticing my eyes into another’s eyes, I lose myself within the stories of the lost and often not found. I tiptoe around issues of rape and abuse. Why be the bearer of
evil? I want to give voice to the women who have suffered or are suffering that may not be
able to speak or have been subjected to silence.”
Sarah Jane Hender is a multidisciplinary artist who utilises a wide range of materials and source imagery to explore contemporary themes. With extensive research often boarding on obsessional her work covers all aspects of the female, exploring ideas of what it means to be a woman and meditating on motherhood, teen culture, sexuality, notions of power, hierarchical struggles, self-destruction, female objectification, and the entrenchment in films; codification of women and their body parts.
Ko Lea tōku awa, installed by the River Lea
“In school we learned pepeha; a way of introducing ourselves in Māori language that begins with acknowledging the awa (rivers), maunga (mountains) and roto (lakes) that make you who you are. It's a beautiful way of recognising that before we are an individual we are all part of nature. But, Pākehā (non-indigenous) students like myself were taught to make up a pepeha based on where we grew up, or where our parents or grandparents were from. In this way, we were taught to further colonize the land and water our ancestors had renamed. This work is a reintroduction; juxtaposing Riverlea, Waikato with the River Lea, London using painterly scenes from Google StreetView.”
Anna Rose researches and develops art with a critical view of the past and an optimism about the future. With close to twenty years of experience in advertising, their approach sits at the intersection of mass media and fine art. Networked technologies are a strong influence on their work, with outputs across a diverse range of mediums; from collage to browser-based works.
A painting of the artist's mother installed in her family home in South London
"This piece is about the train of thought and mind. The composition and style is inspired by my Grandma, Tessa Schneideman, whose paintings are in the background of mine. I also included glass made by Peter Layton and Tim Rawlinson. The art surrounding the two portraits of my Mum, and the book and the glass symbolise how what we choose to surround ourselves with affects and expresses our mind and identity."
Tessa Layton is an artist and student who lives in South London.
Pushbuttons, installed at the Barbican Centre Cinema in London
“In my ongoing project,‘Pushbuttons’ (2023), I focus on the meaning and meaninglessness of things and actions. I use pushbuttons as a symbole for a potential action, and I am interested in the asymmetry between the minor touch by a hand and the following effect. I am working with plaster castings of stone-like shapes with pushbuttons attached. The form of the casts makes the button-pushing impossible––renders the sculpture and the action meaningless. I am especially interested in pushbuttons as they are a cultural phenomenon slowly but surely disappearing from the experience of my generation.
Once central to every piece of technology, we now have more and more button-less interfaces––the touchscreen of every smartphone is the most obvious example.I installed my work in a cinema, a place that seems to be independent from time and place and manages to bring me a sense of home and nostalgia. The cinema is not only a place where I can feel at home but also a place that nourishes inspiration and blurs the lines between imagination and real-life action.”
Aylin Leipold is a London-based artist working in sculpture, video, drawing, and painting. Her practice is centred around the influence and resulting responsibilities of art on society and the codifiability of social change. Her multidisciplinary practice draws on found imagery from (art) history and the contemporary. She explores these ideas based on concepts of the relationship of representation, perception, and truth.
This Must Be No Place, installed in Oxleas Wood, London
"An homage to the Talking Heads love song This Must Be the Place, this textile installation is a love letter to home and a meditation on identity. Each silk is digitally printed with a Google Earth satellite image of one of 30 homes that I have lived in across four countries in as many decades, embroidered with a lyric from a song that is embedded in my memory from that time and place. Each branch represents my evolving identity from home to home."
Shirin Majid (b.1974) is a British-Kashmiri visual artist and creative director of South London based studio Everything You See Here. Through her paintings, sculptures, collages, installations, and digital works, she aims to distill complex ideas into meditative experiences that spark moments of reverie.
She has studied art and design at the New School in New York and the Art Academy in London, and is currently a postgraduate student in the MA Fine Art: Digital programme at Central Saint Martins.