London is the Place for Me: Introduction
London is the Place for Me takes its title from the 1950s British calypso compilation album and reflects on how our sense of home is shaped by the ever-changing cultural landscape around us.
Barclays Project Space:
Dinu Li artist will exhibit a new series of photographs, commissioned by Autograph ABP, featuring people from diverse communities calling home from international phone centres – those small shops/booths that have mushroomed in the UK’s major cities. During the Windrush era, making an international call to one’s distant motherland was an impossible dream for most migrants. Li’s response was to create a set of portraits, entitled Press the * then say Hello, illustrating not only how circumstances have changed for today’s diverse communities, but also revealing the interplay between closeness and distance as manifested by each individual caller’s body language.
Project Space 2:
The moving image work presented by Iniva in Project Space 2 approaches the title of this exhibition both as a question and an affirmation. Installations of Mona Hatoum’s Measures of Distance, Keith Piper’s Go West Young Man, and Harold Offeh’s Alien at Large all expose the concept of ‘home’ as a site continually under construction. Whether London, or Britain, or any place is ‘for us’ will necessarily need to be negotiated through dialogues with difference.
Alien At Large (Oxford), Harold Offeh, UK, 2003, 2:46 min, video
Offeh uses performance, film, video and installation to explore desire, communication and difference. In this work, commissioned by Iniva in 2003, a “just-landed” Offeh wanders through the streets of Oxford with a magnifying lens attached to his face, startling the passers-by peering, or trying hard not to peer, at his magnified lips.
Go West Young Man, Keith Piper, UK, 1996, 3:43 min, video
Piper’s work often reflects on how official versions of history are built from myths. In this short film a father and son discuss stereotypes and gender in a personal/historical montage.
Measures of Distance, Mona Hatoum, UK, 1988, 15 min, video
In this early work Hatoum, reads aloud from letters sent by her mother in Beirut, creating a visual montage reflecting her feelings of separation and isolation from her Palestinian family. The personal and political are inextricably bound in her narrative that poses a sense of self against a backdrop of traumatic social rupture, exile and displacement.