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EXHIBITION OF NEW WORK BY KOOJ / VIRTUAL MIGRANTS for GMIAU and ASHA

at Z-ARTS 6th-29th June 2013, including Launch Event at 6pm on 6th June

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Exhibition opening times are 5pm – 9pm weekdays, 10am – 4pm Saturdays, closed Sundays.

Committed to Represent
An exhibition of photography and texts as a series of portable panels by the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, in partnership with Virtual Migrants
How does the legal work of the GMIAU help refugees to rebuild their lives? What motivates the caseworkers? How do refugees respond to the challenges that the asylum system throws at them?
This exhibition is a celebration of the work that caseworkers do and a testament to the courage of refugees and people seeking asylum.
Design and direction by Kooj Chuhan. Research and text by Ursula Sharma. Photography by Mazaher.

Refusing The Refused
A short film created for ASHA (Asylum Support Housing Advice) from footage of a training workshop on Asylum Destitution on 22nd February 2013, a Virtual Migrants production by Kooj Chuhan
Destitution effectively means poverty and mental suffering at a chronic level, and this workshop involved a range of strong and emotive presentations and dialogues on the experience of destitution among people seeking asylum, the legal and wider political framework for this, and what kinds of support and action can be possible.
ASHA helps asylum seekers whose applications have been refused and fully determined, and whose status renders them homeless and destitute.

Both of these pieces of work are still ‘in development’. They involve intersecting elements of documentary, community portraiture, campaigning and education. This is an integral part of Virtual Migrants’ critical practice in artistic, media and cultural work.

Accompanying these works is an exhibition of paintings by Elizabeth Kwant, titled Tracing Presence. This comprises a series of large-scale portraits developed during her Artist’s in Residence with The Boaz Trust, a charity working to help destitute asylum seekers in Manchester.

6th-29th June at Z-arts, 335 Stretford Road, Manchester M15 5ZA
An exhibition to coincide with Refugee Week 17-23 June 2013

www.virtualmigrants.com

www.gmiau.orgwww.ashamanchester.wordpress.com
www.z-arts.org

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INFUSION – media art exhibition by Kooj Chuhan, continues until 27th October 2012

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

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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.

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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”.

www.kooj.net
www.koojchuhan.wordpress.com
http://www.wlct.org/Arts-and-Festivals/turnpike-gallery/turnpike-gallery.htm

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