Part of a series of talks, presenting South and East Asian British contemporary women artists’ practice by artists, writers and curators: Suki Chan, Dr Alice Correia, Bhajan Hunjan, in association with Chai Shai: Asian British Art Research Group.
Suki Chan is an artist and film director. Chan uses installation, moving image, photography and sound to explore our subjective perception of reality. Her films take audiences on an immersive journey, drawing the viewer into a cinematic 'elsewhere' to investigate memory, belief and knowledge systems. Chan’s practice sits at the intersection of art and science, featuring dialogues with neuroscientists, psychologists, people living with dementia and blind and partially sighted people. Chan seeks out narratives that explore alternative ways of looking at the world and stories that challenge and destabilise our understanding of perception and reality. Her passion is to transform people’s perception and build empathy for other people’s realities.
Chan will talk about her multi-platform project Conscious 2017 – present, and her strategy to sustain her art practice: How the project has enabled her to develop a new direction and consolidate her interest in art and science. Participation in mentoring schemes to learn new skills, create new opportunities for growth, cross over into the film industry and widen her audience. Navigate funding models to develop and produce works, collaborate with institutions and private galleries on touring exhibitions. Conscious was funded by Arts Council England, Film London, with new commissions from The Bluecoat, Science Gallery Rotterdam, presented with support from Danielle Arnaud Gallery. Chan’s debut feature documentary, Conscious is in development with support from the BFI Doc Society, the Sundance Institute | Sandbox Fund and Screen Scotland.
Dr Alice Correia
Dr Alice Correia is an art historian, writer and curator. She has worked at Tate Britain, Government Art Collection, and Touchstones Rochdale. She has held Fellowships at the Paul Mellon Centre for the Study of British Art and the UAL Decolonising Arts Institute. Her edited anthology, What is Black Art? Writings on artists of African, Asian and Caribbean Heritage in Britain, 1981-1989, was published by Penguin in September 2022, and she co-curated the exhibition A Tall Order! Rochdale Art Gallery in the 1980s, at Touchstones Rochdale, February-May 2023.
Correia will introduce her on-going research into the neglected histories of British-Asian artistic practice during the 1980s and ‘90s, focusing on the work of women artists. What types of art did this generation make? Where was it shown, and how was it understood? I will provide an historical sketch of some of key exhibitions, activities, and publications as well as identify and discuss some key artists and their work. While some artists from the 1980s generation, including Zarina Bhimji, Sutapa Biswas, and Chila Kumari Burman, have received significant curatorial and critical attention in recent years, there are many other artists who have yet to receive such recognition. I will introduce some of my research about brilliant but understudied artists, including Mumtaz Karimjee, Gurminder Sikand, and Mohini Chandra.
Bhajan Hunjan trained as a painter and printmaker from Reading University and the Slade School of Art. She has developed a very individual visual language of free-floating lines, symbolic colours and shapes, repetition and script motifs that draw upon both her Sikh heritage and fine art abstraction to encourage viewers to reflect on social, spiritual and emotional environments. She works extensively on public art commissions often in concrete, metal and stone. These are always created through community consultation for site specific spaces, and often in collaboration with other artists and local women’s groups.
Hunjan’s presentation will focus on her experiences as an artist/public artist, curator, activist and educator. Looking back over the last four decades of her practice as an artist and maker, she will focus on some pivotal moments which were crucial in keeping her creative spirit and practice alive against the backdrop of barriers and invisibility. The positive role played by artist curators, collaborations with creative practitioners’/art organisations and local authorities with public funding in this journey.
Chaired By Jasmir Creed, Bindu Mehra and Kristen Kreider
The event is chaired by artists and PhD researchers Jasmir Creed, Bindu Mehra with contributions by Professor Kristen Kreider, Head of the Doctoral programme at the Slade. There will be an opportunity to participate in a Q&A session after the presentations.
Jasmir Creed is a practice-led PhD researcher at the Slade School of Fine Art. She explores alienation and the transcultural in paintings of people in urban non-places or iconic historical sites, informed by her identity as a British South Asian artist. Solo exhibitions of paintings by Jasmir Creed include Urban Forest at Delta House Studios, London 2017; Dystopolis at Victoria Gallery and Museum, Liverpool 2018 and Utopolis at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery 2023. Group exhibitions include Asia Triennial Manchester 2018, Home and Unhome at Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing, China, 2020 and Art Contact, Istanbul Art Fair, Turkey 2021.
Bindu Mehra is currently pursuing her practice-led PhD at the Slade School of Fine Arts and her film has recently been nominated for an award at the Cannes Short Film festival. Bindu was short listed for Documenta 14 (independent project) and at Tate Britain, London UK 2009. She is the founding director of an online curatorial platform called The Digital Silk Route with the aim to fuel discourse, critical enquiry and explore possibilities of working transnationally in the arts. The collective has been fostering collaborations, exchanges and engagement between international art communities. It supports video art practices with thematic resonance to transnational identity, citizenship and migration. They have been exhibiting and screening moving image works at The University of Toronto, Art Gallery of Mississauga, MS University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda, Maison de la Culture de Côte-des-Neiges, Montreal, Ambedkar University, Delhi. Bindu has also held workshops at the Blackburn Museum and has taught at the Virginia CommonWealth University, USA.
Kristen Kreider is a writer and artist. Her research stems from an interest in the poetics of thought, its materialisation as form, and a concern with how artworks relate to the world. In collaboration with the architect James O’Leary, Kreider’s artistic practice engages with sites of architectural and cultural interest and they are currently working on a large-scale project, Ungovernable Spaces, engaging with five sites of community and resistance globally. Acting primarily as a facilitator for this project, Kristen brings to this her experience working with postgraduate art research at UCL, Oxford and Goldsmiths. Kristen is currently Professor of Fine Art and Head of the Doctoral Programme and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London.
In association with Chai Shai: Asian British Art Research Group
Chai Shai: Asian British Art Research Group (with a focus on South Asian British and East Asian Contemporary Women Artists Practice) aims to address underrepresentation of Asian British women artists in exhibitions and challenge their under-representation and invisibility in the British Art world. Our focus is to shed light on the systematic barriers, including racism and misogyny, that prevent these artists from gaining equal exposure and recognitions within visual arts. By bringing together artists, writers, curators, academics, and researchers, we aim to generate new channels of thinking and networking that will contribute towards the development of British Art curating e.g. generating material and networks leading to a new exhibition of contemporary artists work.
This is the first research group event in a series of reading groups, film screenings, performance, workshops and symposia we aim to create thinking spaces that will unpack notions of invisibility and disenchantment, and identity strategies for redressing this imbalance.
Funded by Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL And British Art Network
This seminar is supported by the Institute of Advanced Studies and by the Slade School of Fine Art at University College London and by British Art Network. BAN is a Subject Specialist Network supported by Tate and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, with additional public funding provided by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The Network promotes curatorial research, practice and theory in the field of British Art. Its members include curators, academics, artist-researchers, conservators, producers and programmers at all stages of their professional lives.