Migrant Narratives Explored In Nishat Awan's Immersive Video Installation At YSP
The Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is presenting an immersive video installation by artist and academic Nishat Awan in the refurbished Bothy Gallery. Grounded in original field research, Migrant Narratives of Citizenship: A Topological Atlas of European Belonging presents a collection of digital maps which follow the borders of Europe, particularly along the Black Sea.
The exhibition traces a route through the borderlands of the ‘refugee crisis’ narrating stories of migrant journeys and the clandestine crossing of borders. An unfinished and provisional Atlas of European Belonging visualises Europe through its margins and the spaces of transit, movement, and stasis produced by those on the move.
This timely project, developed in collaboration with artist Cressida Kocienski, takes as
its starting point the historical connection between the way states represent themselves through maps and how citizens and non-citizens are defined. Awan considers maps to be world-making entities traditionally created by those in power, rather than as visualisations of an already existing world.
Awan, a Lecturer in Architecture at the University of Sheffield, will work with her students in the Bothy Gallery from 10 to 31 October to construct the installation.
The Kapikule border crossing between Turkey and Bulgaria. Courtesy the artist. Photo Cressida Kocienski
Between 24 and 28 October, Awan and YSP will host roundtable discussions with refugees, non-governmental organisation (NGO) representatives and academics working on migration-related issues. Taking place in the Bothy Gallery, the aim is to foster a lively debate on the current ‘refugee crisis’ in Europe.
Awan’s academic research focuses on the intersection of geopolitics and space, in particular working on the topics of migration, borders, and diasporas. She is co-author of Spatial Agency (Routledge, 2011), a book that explores other modes of practicing architecture and her current book Diasporic Agencies (Ashgate, 2016), also explores questions of migration.
Migrant Narratives of Citizenship: A Topological Atlas of European Belonging is supported by Independent Social Research Foundation, University of Sheffield and ESRC Festival of Social Science.
Nishat Awan was appointed Lecturer at the University of Sheffield in 2012, having previously worked at the university as a research associate and as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at Technische Universität Berlin. Awan previously taught at Goldsmiths, University of London and University of East London and also worked in practice in London for several years. Awan is interested in questions of diversity, migration and geopolitics and how these can be addressed through spatial practice. She addresses some of these issues in her work with OPENkhana, a collaborative that works between architectural, computational and artistic practice.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is the leading international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture. It is an independent charitable trust and registered museum (number 1067908) situated in the 500-acre, 18th-century Bretton Hall estate in West Yorkshire. Founded in 1977 by Executive Director Peter Murray, YSP was the first sculpture park in the UK, and is the largest of its kind in Europe, providing the only place in the world to see Barbara Hepworth’s The Family of Man in its entirety alongside a significant collection of sculpture, including bronzes by Henry Moore, and site-specific works by Andy Goldsworthy, David Nash and James Turrell. YSP also mounts a world- class, the year-round temporary exhibitions programme including some of the world’s leading artists across five indoor galleries and the open air. Recent highlights include exhibitions by Not Vital, KAWS, Bill Viola, Anthony Caro, Fiona Banner, Ai Weiwei, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Amar Kanwar, Yinka Shonibare MBE and Joan Miró.
YSP’s core work is made possible by an investment from Arts Council England, Wakefield Council, Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation and Sakurako and William Fisher through the Sakana Foundation. YSP was named Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2014.
Migrant Narratives of Citizenship: A Topological Atlas of European Belonging 31 October–27 November 2016 Bothy Gallery