Queen Mary @ the Tate

Sophie Herxheimer @ The Tate

Queen Mary University is a firm believer in the radical power of art to change the world, as well as in the values of diversity, inclusion and community engagement. That is why, up until Sunday the 6thof May 2018, Queen Mary will have a five-day residency at the Tate Modern, Southbank (hurry, there is still time to visit). Our university has taken over the fifth floor of the Blavatnik Building at Tate Exchange and is hosting provocative discussions, displays, workshops and screenings with artists and researchers from QMUL. The aim of this takeover, officially titled: ‘Producing Memory: Maps, Materials, Belongings’, is to explore how memory is produced in relation to material, objects and places. This interactive event hopes to engage the mind and stimulate thought around the role of objects in: ‘the production, conservation and recollection of our individual memories, and those of our communities’.

To those second year students who have just finished the ‘Post-Colonialism’ module and who aspire to take modules such as: ‘After-Postcolonialism’, ‘Writing Muslims’, ‘Writing South Africa’ or ‘Revolutions: Turbulent Times in Middle Eastern Writing’ in their third year, this exhibition might be of particular interest. For there is a focus on migrant and refugee art and an exploration of the challenges of producing and conserving a home and identity as a result of displacement. The exhibition asks visitors questions such as: ‘what is the role of sensuality in the making of memories?’ And: ‘How can digital technologies of mass production coexist with artisanal modes of making, and what is their relation to the production of cultural heritage?’

I visited the exhibition on Tuesday and thoroughly enjoyed myself. My favourite display was the Ink Drawings by Sophie Herxheimer (as can be seen in this article). Her drawings are simple and evocative, black on white, to celebrate shared cultural stories and imaginations. Migration and immigration are integral to these drawings and it was quite overwhelming to stand there and allow so many different stories to wash over you and immerse yourself in each one. They are intimate and personal and make visitors reflect on their own culture, family and sense of selfhood and identity. Another display that caught my attention was the ‘Zelige Door on Golborne Road’ – a multisensory interactive digital installation based on Moroccan culture that invites readers to smell, taste, touch, and listen as they make their way around the installation.

The exchange is open from 12:00am-6:00pm daily until the 6thof May and various other events, workshops, screenings and discussions will take place each day. On Friday the 4thof May, artist Sophie Herxheimer will be hosting a story collecting workshop and visitors can also celebrate the new issue of Wasafiri Magazine with an evening of live literature. The final day of the exchange, Sunday the 6thof May, will be dedicated to exploring the Kuikuro indigenous people’s project which aims to record and preserve their village’s cultural heritage in the Mato Grosso region of Brazil. For detailed descriptions of each display and the programme of daily screenings, discussions and workshops, visit: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/tate-exchange/workshop/producing-memory-maps-materials-belongings 

Nearest Station: Cannon St or London Bridge- a short walk from either.

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