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The British Library

Date uploaded: April 29, 2014

Brighton Festival and HOUSE, Brighton’s festival of visual art and domestic space, have announced the opening of Yinka Shonibare MBE’s 'The British Library' a new sculptural installation exploring themes of immigration, migration and refuge, co-commissioned by HOUSE and Brighton Festival 2014. The exhibit runs from the 3rd to the 26th May at the Old Reference Library, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery.

Comprised of approximately 10,000 books bound in Shonibare’s trademark African Dutch wax batik fabric, The British Library responds to both sides of the immigration debate, both for and against.  Printed in gold foil on the spines of 3,500 of the books are the names of notable British immigrants who throughout history have made significant contributions to British culture and society, including some opposed to immigration.
Presented in the dramatic Edwardian surroundings of the Old Reference Library in Brighton Museum and Art Gallery the books are organised on the library’s original wood bookcases. Close to collections of art, fashion and world art, the Library has been used for research for almost a hundred years by academics, historians, writers and local residents. The building stands on what was once the site of the stable block for the iconic Royal Pavilion with its Chinese inspired interiors and Indian architecture.
Yinka Shonibare said, “Whilst the installation is a celebration of the ongoing contributuons made to British society by people who have arrived here from other parts of the world or whose ancestors came to Britain as immigrants, it does not exclude the points of view of those who object to it. The British Library is inspired by the current debates about immigration and the public response to the new presence of Romanians in Britain”.
HOUSE 2014 and Brighton Festival also present four artists from the South East region selected by Open Submission whose work responds to the themes in Shonibare MBE’s commission.  This is the first time the Open Submission artists have featured in the Festival in pre-determined spaces in the city.
Artist and curator Leah Gordon, whose work explores art, religion, anthropology, post-colonialism and folk history has created Caste/Casta new body of work connecting Haiti and the UK for The Regency Town House.
Phillip Hall-Patch, an artist and architect, whoinvestigates the tensions between transience and stability through ephemeral and time-based works is producing Salt Field, an installation made from blocks of industrial salt for The Brighton Waste House, a new low energy pre-fabricated house built in the city.
Critical designer and futurist, Tobias Revell’sThe Monopoly of Legitimate Use at Lighthouse is a three-part film that interrogates political and technological territory, suggesting alternative models of power and technology that alter perceptions of migration.
No One Owns The Land is the first collaborative commission for artist-makers Ester Svensson and Rosanna Martin, whose sculpturalinstallation in the basement kitchen of The Regency Town House weaves together narratives of journeys and migrations, to create a sense of place and the imagined land, often an unattainable dream.
Brighton Festival’s visual arts programme also includes William Forsythe’s Nowhere and Everywhere No.2 at Circus Street Market (Sat 3 – Sun 25 May), Zimoun: Sound in Motion at Brighton University Gallery (Mon 5 – Sun 25 May), Kathy Hinde’s Tipping Point at Brighton Dome Founders Room (20 –24 May) and Jacob Dalgren’s Heaven is a place and The Wonderful World of Abstraction (3 May –25 May) at Fabrica.

Guest Curator for HOUSE 2014 is Celia Davies, Director, Photoworks.
HOUSE 2014 is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

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