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Displaced Series: Exploring displacement, identity and social perception

24 January - 13 June 2020

11am-5pm Tuesday to Friday
11am-4pm Saturdays

Access via Artisan Cafe off Guildhall Square

A female refugee holding a piece of artwork on the steps of ancient ruins 

In an explorative season spanning six months, based on a dialogue with internationally renowned artist Dr Rachel Gadsden, Solent Showcase Gallery presents two exhibitions examining different experiences of the same themes: displacement, identity and social perception.

The first exhibition, Narratives of Displacement (24 January to 21 March 2020) explores the use of art as a form to help refugee women tell their stories. The pieces in the exhibition were created by Iraqi and Syrian women who have found refuge in Germany, the UK and Jordan.

The second, Displaced: Salon of Disability (10 April to 13 June 2020), is an exciting transformation of the gallery with disabled artist-in-residence, Dr Rachel Gadsden, considering displacement from the perspective of disability. 

Exhibition 1: Narratives of Displacement

24 January to 21 March 2020

Created by Iraqi and Syrian women who have found refuge in Germany, the UK and Jordan in 2018, the pieces in this exhibition examine how refugee women negotiate their identities and sense of belonging through shaping social relations, challenging religious boundaries and facilitating community belonging and integration within their new diasporas.

In creative collaborations with University of Birmingham academic Dr Yafa Shanneik and artistic workshops led by Rachel Gadsden, who was assisted by Palestinian artist Amna Ali Hussein. The exhibition is part of Shanneik’s research project, funded by the British Academy and Council for British Research in the Levant.

In a series of art workshops with the refugee women and families in 2018, Gadsden used the ‘body mapping’ technique, an artistic tool for creating life-sized images, that traces the contours of the individual’s body. Through the workshops the women were able to counter gender-based narratives of fragility and vulnerability and develop narratives of strength, courage and empowerment. 

This exhibition is part of the Mayflower 400 Southampton anniversary during 2020 - a city-wide event with partners across Southampton to make up an inclusive programme to celebrate all the people of the world who have made Southampton their home and those who have found sanctuary here. We will work to ensure Southampton remains a welcoming city.

Exhibition 2: Displaced - Salon of Disability

10 April to 13 June 2020

For the second exhibition in our Displaced series, disabled visual and performance artist Dr Rachel Gadsden will be the gallery's artist-in-residence. Drawing inspiration from the original French salons of the 18th century, which became hotbeds of discussion and pivotal sources of revolutionary ideas and discourse, Gadsden’s ‘Salon of Disability’ will see the gallery transformed into a contemporary artists’ ‘salon’ exploring the realities of cultural displacement of disabled people.

The exhibition will be a continuation of Solent Showcase Gallery’s socially-engaged curatorial programme, offering the chance for individuals and groups, whether disabled or non-disabled, main-stream or marginalised, to engage in art discussions, workshops and cultural activities.

The ever-evolving exhibition will be multi-stranded, transforming the gallery into a working art installation; forming experimental performances; and creating space for partnership and discussion of displacement and the ‘lived experience of disability’.

The ‘Salon of Disability’ is a potential model for a more permanent, sustainable salon in Southampton. Gadsden hopes to extend the impact of the project with an ongoing strategy and network where emerging disabled and marginalised artists in and around the Southampton region will be supported and empowered to build and share their practices. 

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