Permindar Kaur’s current major exhibition, Outgrown, on display at The Art House (TAH), invites us to consider the question ‘where is home?’. During a residency this summer at TAH, Kaur worked with two local artists, Ranya Abdulateef and Ifa Abebe, to further explore concepts of the home, who we are and where we belong, and co-create a new work, Dream Runner (2022) for display in Wakefield Cathedral. This co-creation is the first time Kaur has worked in this way and by collaborating with Abdulateef and Abebe, the three artists have been able to take on a more multidisciplinary approach to the project.
Since the early 1990s, Kaur has considered notions and ideas of home while also addressing issues around migration, displacement, and the difficulties many people face when relocating homes, and even homelands. These core themes were central to her time working with Abdulateef and Abebe, two up-and-coming, early career creatives with lived experience of displacement. Since 2019 Abdulateef has been part of TAH’s Studio of Sanctuary programme, and both her and Abebe work as Studio of Sanctuary community facilitators, bringing their combined experience working with textiles & printmaking, and architecture, graphics & poetry.
Together, over the summer, they investigated concepts of safety in the home. Informed by workshops with local groups – and supported by The Art House in its role as the UK’s first Studio of Sanctuary – the artists collaborated with members of Wakefield’s refugee and asylum-seeking communities to sensitively explore Kaur’s ongoing themes.
Central to the project is the creation of a new sculptural work which takes the form of a sleeping pod on legs. Beds have always played a significant role in Kaur’s work. Usually a place of comfort and warmth, their sense of belonging and safety has been vital in allowing Kaur to experiment with the illusion of security. This sculpture is an exciting departure from that of Kaur’s previous work, which often follow simple forms and lines. Abdulateef and Abebe have been able to offer important investigations and further challenge these ideas that have been central to Kaur’s work across four decades. The resulting sculpture, and unlike a traditional bed, Dream Runner takes an organic and curved form, more associated with shapes seen in the natural environment.
The work invites us to consider if the egg or cocoon-like form is protecting the would-be sleeper inside, or a cage or menacing creature that could consume the person who dares enter. Together, the three artists invite us to consider contrasting notions of home across the world and raise questions about the privileges of safety and sanctuary. The residency has allowed Kaur, Abdulateef and Abebe the space to question this and experiment with these themes, as well as offer time to learn from and share knowledge with each other.
The work is perfectly sited in Wakefield Cathedral, a place that is both welcoming and protective, and a key advocate alongside The Art House for supporting Wakefield as a City of Sanctuary.
Permindar Kaur is a sculptor and installation artist whose playful approach of using objects related to childhood, such as toys and cots, explores the territory of cultural identity, home, and belonging. These objects resemble displaced domestic belongings which have been distorted and manipulated to invoke the uncanny. They are deceptively familiar in their appearance and initially might remind the viewer of innocence, childhood, and play; belying their sinister undertones.
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Ranya Abdulateef is a Wakefield-based artist who works predominantly with textiles and printmaking. Born in Iraq and raised in the United Arab Emirates, she studied fashion and textile design at Wakefield College and is now based at The Art House as part of our Studio of Sanctuary programme. Abdulateef commonly combines creative mediums in her work through a process of layering a range of techniques, and enjoys sharing her creative experience with others through delivering workshops at TAH, volunteering with the Wakefield City of Sanctuary and other artistic ventures.
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Ifa Abebe is an architect, graphic artist, poet and DJ, based in Doncaster. Born in Ethiopia, he became a young community leader from an early age, focusing on environmental and social issues using art and creativity. As well as his successful multidisciplinary practice which includes community-focused architecture and performing his poetry internationally over the years, Abebe has, since 2019, gifted his time to the community through various volunteering programmes. He now works at The Art House to deliver Talk and Draw workshops with Studio of Sanctuary community group members in Wakefield.
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