News from the project: April 2021

We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back in the building next month.

Whether you’re popping in for a self-guided visit with our new audio guide, you want to experience a guided tour delivered by one of our informed volunteers or you want to check out the installation across the building by artists we have been working with – we can’t wait to show you around. We are open every Tuesday and Thursday 10-4pm if you want to drop by (you only need to book for the guided tours which take place at 12 and 2pm on those days). Visitor numbers are restricted, masks need to be worn and social distancing applies.

Events going forward will be a mixture of online and in-person. Check out our highlights:

What is dissent? Which stories get told? Who is remembered and who is forgotten? From one of the historical homes of dissenters and abolitionists, this series of talks aims to uncover histories of radicalism from the bottom up, finding inspiration from the past and hope in the present.

Each week speakers will share their thoughts, research and experience on various topics before a group discussion will take place. Speakers include Gurminder K Bhambra, representatives from Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, Kehinde Andrews and Annie Olaloku-Teriba.

The Corran Quartet present two works from members of the Mendelssohn family: Fanny and her brother Felix. The Meeting House is appropriately famous for being “the birthplace of feminism”, so here is a rare opportunity to hear two fabulous pieces of music by the Mendelssohn siblings.

And you’re invited to the opening night of the new installation across the building, ‘Cluster-phobia’. Here’s some words from the curator:

Identity politics aligned with modern day capitalism has created a thought vacuum where we as POC or white artists are expected to say or do something satisfactory to that system.

Running on the conveyor belt of ‘ticking the boxes’, articulating in the specific language that will get us a job, a funding, a connection, whilst abstracting our voices into the cluster of jargons and familiar symbols.

The obsessive need for classification might create an impersonal modern world of still white, but politically corrected privilege, dictating how artists should talk about their work. Their ignorant attention will fall onto the colour, rather than the story of the person, which could be things not immediately identifiable like immigration. Being appropriated or stereotyped into a certain tribe isn’t what we are after. We might sing together, but our song is of the I.

Together, we wanted to create a show about things that are urgent and important but not always easy to talk about. The exhibition hosts an array of mediums across the entire building including; a video piece from JJ Chan, paintings from Kemi Onabule, sculpture from Colin Allen and a collaborative installation from Negmat/Allen.

Lead by Tahmina Negmat, interviews screened in the Main Hall, discuss the themes like:

  • Censorship in the communities 
  • Cultural tribes
  • Appropriating the stereotypes
  • The anticipation of a certain kind of work from the racial/sexual minority artists.
  • What does it mean to be in between the established communities?
  • The toxicity and immobility of expression within ‘placard’ thinking
  • What democracy means to you?
  • Do you ever feel like you had to have it hard as a black artist to be a successful/good artist?
  • “How lucky are you?” or why does Britain slightly hate immigrants?
  • Social justice or revanchism driven by trauma
  • Building Heritages
  • Lost in Translation

Colin Allen (performance artist, sculptor, painter). 

‘From Zimbabwe to South Africa in the 70s, the Dialect of Loneliness or How to Build a Machine for Living Alone’

www.colin-allen.com 

@cdlallen

 

Joel Chan (sculptor, filmmaker, Senior Fine Art Lecturer at Kingston University). 

‘Open Letter to CFCCA’, Race and Problems of Idealism’

www.jjchan.co.uk

@jjchan.co.uk

 

Kemi Onabule (painter) 

‘Most Popular Girl at the Bedford Boarding School, Britain – the Kingdom of Serenity? Being at the Studio and Being a Mother’

www.kemionabule.com 

@kemionabuleart

 

Tahmina Negmat (painter) 

‘The Physicality of Language or on How to Retaliate if you Happen to Be a 1st Generation Immigrant, My White Girl Nightmare, and Marmite on Toast’

www.tahminanegmat.com

@tahmina.negmat

As ever if you want to know more about our work, our exciting plans or how we could work together please contact us!

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