SAYRA BEGUM: PILGRIMAGE
22 July – 23 September 2023
Sayra Begum is an illustrator, writer and educator based in Nottingham. Her style is influenced by Islamic miniatures and Surrealism. She is interested in theology, our relationship to the environment, to each other, and the reality that exists beyond our perception. Begum released her debut graphic novel, Mongrel in 2020 (supported by Arts Council England, published by Knockabout). Mongrel was exhibited in the 2022 NAE Open. In 2023 it was published under the title Je suis Métisse by Delcourt. Begum has contributed to the 10 Years to Save the World comic anthology, taken part in the Comics Cultural Exchange Residency in Prague, contributed to the Wild Escape campaign and is currently creating a comic based on the IPCC report (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).
Begum studied BA Illustration at Plymouth College of Art (2014) where she discovered graphic novels in the university’s library. Craig Thompson’s Blankets and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis had a significant influence on her. As a dyslexic, there was accessibility in this multi-modal form of communication which allowed the viewer to be an active participant yet become fully immersed. On the MA Illustration course at Falmouth University (2016), she decided to focus on graphic memoirs, particularly memoirs belonging to female and marginalised voices. Her journey with Mongrel began there and was at the centre of her creative practice until its completion in 2020.
Sayra is the winner of the NAE Open 2022 Residency Prize. She is currently researching pilgrimage for her next graphic novel/gallery comic. She aims to capture ideas from philosophers (and make the inaccessible, and accessible), ideas from society (to listen), and the embodied experience of the pilgrimage itself (recreated for readers to experience and find their perspective).
Sayra will use the residency space to develop new paintings for her new graphic novel and experiment with new materials at a larger scale than she is used to. She also plans to host intimate sharing events, and conversations with religious and secular pilgrims, as well as artists who centre their practice around their religious faith in their work. She will also have access to mentorship from NAE’s creative team.
READ ABOUT PAST RESIDE RESIDENCIES
RE-FRAME: SOLOMON BERRIO-ALLEN
16 JANUARY – 31 MARCH
NAE’s artist-in-residence programme continues this season, with Re-frame, an exploration of dance outside of traditional dance spaces. The artist selected for Re-frame is Solomon Berrio-Allen, an artist of motion, choreographer, and movement facilitator working in the field of dance.
Re-frame is a collaboration with FABRIC (Dance4 and DanceXchange) and was designed for artists working in the field of dance, movement and/or choreography to experiment with cross disciplinary practice in the context of a visual art gallery and to produce a new piece of work. Solomon will use NAE’s Mezzanine Gallery space as his studio, where he will research, test and experiment with new ideas, with support from the creative teams at NAE and FABRIC.
Solomon’s work spans across stage productions and film and in addition to his independent projects he has also created works from Italy to Moscow for companies such as Stanislavsky Ballet Company and Dance Arts Faculty – N-EXT as well as worked on projects platformed at arts initiatives and festivals such as Nowness, BFI Black Star Season and Encounters short film festival.
Solomon’s project whilst in residence at NAE is entitled Our Acres.
The project explores the indelible colonial history, the reclamation of the authorship and sovereignty of the diasporic body. It creates the notion of ‘a new plantation’ – sowing seeds for greater livity and liberation. 400 years on, a watering, contemporary imagining and listening of our ancestors’ acres – the body.
Details about events and sharings related to Re-frame will be shared on NAE’s and FABRIC’s social media and websites.
MEET THE ARTIST
As part of Solomon Berrio-Allen’s Residency at NAE and FABRIC, Solomon hosted a ‘Meet the Artist’ event to introduce his research project, Our Acres. The group was invited to share their personal reflections to help shape his thinking and ideas over the course of his residency. Solomon describes the event:
“This came as a beautiful moment and evening to be in collective exchange, honesty for evolution and watering our sight and the way we are tuning to the world, art and artistic footing.
Opening an important pillar of the work of Our Acres project itself creating space for connection, conversation, healing, spirit and collective cultivation.
The lands are growing – A big thank you to all that were present, listened and generously shared their minds, reflections and growing discoveries.
A welcomed time to begin collective conversation around the lands and cares of my work and project – Our Acres, research and performance project.
Certainly calls for more collective conversation, united expansion and deepening.”
Solomon describes the event for those that couldn’t be there:
“One layer we looked to – Dance is not just located in the body, walking with this notion as a doorway to acknowledge and further sight the bridge between mediums and the continuum of connection that we split into separation.
In this vein we further looked at taking our ‘hats’ off to truly evolve. Do they serve us? Where do they aid, where do the limit and stifle possibility and are we in a place to welcome or allow another layer and expression of your artistic world and imagining.”
IN PROCESS, IN VISION, IN TOGETHERNESS
A beautiful week visioning, imagining, with nature and crafting with my father ( artist, sculptor, musician) yet foremostly communing and holding space the rising of our root’s lands, ways and the importance of intergenerational transmission and unity.
As future grandfathers, grandmothers and custodians of our traditions, spirit and field of sacred and afro ancestral knowledge/living the call to upholding this bridge is vital. A responsibility. A walk. We must open planes to exchange, commune, come honest, heal, dismantle, break bread, learn of our heartbeat deeper and its nowness whilst they are here and beyond.
Add logs to the fire, that frees. Your intent, compass and presence is everything.
We rise from the roots.
Growing together stronger, for our tree and trees.
May we all reflect where we hold value, where has it been placed till now and we place
OUR ACRES:WATERINGS AND ARISINGS OF THE GROWING LANDS
A window into some manifestations from the project walks, worlding and landscape building.
Our rhythms, geometry and compass listening are essential to the livity of our nature, makeup, livelihood and blooming.
A re-centring and re-framing of our spirit and humanity.
Bringing a greater facing to what has been enshrined and histories have persisted in our field of sight, body and modes of thinking. The way and walk of decolonising our senses and re-prescribing centres of value.
What frame are you looking through, placing power and value in? A key teller of the picture
RESIDE: IONEY SMALLHORNE AND MITA SOLANKY
JULY – SEPTEMBER 2022
Residing at NAE during July – September 2022 were artists Ioney Smallhorne and Mita Solanky. Each took up residence in our Mezzanine Gallery space, using our building as a base to create work and engage with different groups.
Ioney used the opportunity to continue research on her project titled, Jamaica and Her Daughters; A Collection of Poetry & Prose, whilst Mita explored creative ways to grow, prepare, and eat food in a way that creates a deeper connection with the earth and with local communities.
IONEY SMALLHORNE: JAMAICA AND HER DAUGHTERS | 23 FEBRUARY 2023
Developed as part of her recent residency at NAE (July to September 22), artist and educator Ioney Smallhorne presented a new body of writing produced as part of her research project Jamaica & Her Daughters in an interactive and multi-disciplinary poetry experience.
Image credit: ForForth Collective
SAINTLY AMOK: AN INFINITE GIFT, SEED SHARING EVENT | 1 DECEMBER 2022
As part of her residency at NAE (July to September 22), artist Saintly Amok (also known as Mita Solanky) further explored nature-based practices of growing, cooking, and consuming food. Through this event, inviting local connections she has built, to share their knowledge of growing and their relationship with seeds.