INFUSION – migration, expression, liberation
22nd Sept – 27th October, at: Turnpike Gallery, Civic Square, Leigh WN7 1EB. Opening times: Tues-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 10.30am-3.30pm. Tel: 01942 404420
an exhibition by artist Kooj (Kuljit S Chuhan)
created in collaboration with Raphael Sherriff and Joe Mulenda, Rafiki Youth Project (Wigan) and Kamosi Youth Project (Leigh)
Includes the video art installation “Fear And Liberation” (printed PVC banners with video screen).
“Infusion” is a process which releases active ingredients, liberating the vital essence of a substance into the surrounding area.
This work integrates critical art practice exploring collective identities with community collaboration, created by an artist with over 25 years of work in community, migrant and activist contexts.
Artist Kooj Chuhan, originally commissioned by Community Arts North West (CAN), used cultural, media and performance methods to work with young people in Wigan and Leigh from countries such as Ghana, Iraq, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Guinea or DR Congo, and Roma areas such as Slovakia or the Czech Republic. A community performance with the title “Fusion” gave a platform for their expressions and was filmed and two members of Rafiki, Joe and Raphael, then worked with Kooj on his own project to create the “Fear and Liberation” installation.
Thinking around migrant youth issues, Joe and Raphael immediately suggested a key quote from the biographical film Coach Carter which expressed some of their feelings about the needs of young black men. This art installation uses words based on the concluding line which becomes a window through which we see a montage of video imagery, the young people in performance, hanging out, in alternative roles and shots of Wigan, with words they have written during workshops with Levi Tafari and MC Crystalize.
The two walls either side of this installation present complementary video work comprising firstly a projection of two drama films made by Rafiki with Kooj titled “Classifique FM” and “Dress Your Heart Out”, and secondly a smaller screen plays the montage film “F-Review” which contrasts cultural activities against global contexts for the young people.
The final wall presents “Landing”, an installation consisting of prints in frames or on the wall along with hanging clothing. This was produced during a gallery workshop where a range of young people brought in objects or photographs and located images from the internet, which they felt represented something of their cultural origin relevant to them now. They printed these off and generated a wall design from which Kooj created the final installation, a snapshot of a collective self-portrayal.
This room itself becomes another installation as an environment which the gallery visitors can inhabit, titled “Infusion”.