iniva and Stuart Hall Foundation are thrilled to announce that artist and maker Dharma Taylor has been selected for the sixth Stuart Hall Library Artist’s Residency – a funded opportunity at Stuart Hall Library in London, UK, that builds on Professor Stuart Hall’s unique contribution to intellectual and cultural life.
Building on the distinct connections between iniva and Stuart Hall Foundation, the residency allows visual artists the space to think about some of the key themes related to the work of iniva and the Stuart Hall Foundation, including the language of the diaspora, culture, identity and archiving.
This year, reflecting on Stuart Hall’s paper ‘Constituting an archive’ (published by Third Text, Spring 2001), artists were invited to apply with research proposals that responded to the concept of “the living archive” and consider the multiple ways in which an archive as a site may hold multiple narratives that are contested. The Stuart Hall Foundation and iniva were particularly interested in working with an artist whose practice is informed by perspectives on politics, identity and activism; who is interested in the language of the international and ideas around diaspora; and whose methodology may relate to notions of archiving and the archival.
Selected artist Dharma Taylor is a multidisciplinary artist, combining textiles with woodwork to produce narrative-rich, design-driven works that seek to observe aspects of systems within which we exist and that allow her to explore her position within the Diaspora and contemporary British society. Her practice focuses on memory and the prehistory of prior conditions, interweaving flashes of hue and colour-stories to create new textiles using family history as inspiration. Through an abstract approach further inspired by diverse sources from technology and poetry to ancient civilisations and cultural plurality, she constructs everyday objects of furniture; in particular chairs and rugs and embroidered slippers, that offer support for the human form throughout life.
Selected through a richly competitive open call, Taylor’s project ‘Part of the Furniture’ will focus on the radical act of craft, resulting in pieces of textiles or solid oak furniture inspired by Stuart Hall’s ‘interest in the experience of being alive during such disruptive times’. During the three-month residency, Taylor will be focusing her research on racialised labour, migration of textile workers, and examining the politics of cloth and explore what it means to be a craftsperson of colour today. As part of the residency, which takes place between May – July, Taylor will also be sharing her research as part of a public event in the Autumn.
Dharma Taylor, selected artist for the 6th Stuart Hall Library artist residency said:
“During this residency I want to be able to research in a way that is not just about creating beautiful objects and the process of making but rather to engage and explore the issues of our time and do it in a way that redresses the balance of equality and opportunity within the design industries, shining a light on an optimistic future.”
Beatriz Lobo (Curator) and Tavian Hunter (Library and Archive Manager) at iniva said:
“Dharma’s focus on the “radical act of craft” felt fresh and innovative for the work that iniva is doing to provide support for artists looking to integrate research-led approaches into their practices. We are looking forward to how Dharma develops an interdisciplinary practice linking woodwork to textiles through research into the concept of the living archive using resources held in Stuart Hall Library and iniva’s archives. We are excited to learn from Dharma’s experience as a maker as we expand the collection around her practice whilst she develops her own ideas.”
The sixth Stuart Hall Library Residency is supported by Arts Council England
Image: Dharma Taylor in studio. Image courtesy of Dudley Waltzer, 2023