We have commissioned British-Barbadian artist Alberta Whittle to present a new long-term body of work, Congregation (Creating Dangerously Remix). Using public sculpture, film, workshops, and community gardening, the 2022 Commonwealth Games provides a crucial backdrop for this long-term project which will develop over the coming 18 months.
Working with MJM Bespoke, the site has been designed and constructed to include planters, seating and outdoor cooking facilities. Developed in collaboration with women’s support organisations in the West Midlands (Crisis women’s groups, SIFA Fireside, Anawim), this garden will become central to developing knowledge around growing and healing practices, fostering connections between plants and people. Founded upon a need for mutual care and self-compassion, and as such we plan to create an outdoor installation as a form of shelter and respite, and a shared public space that has been reimagined and reinvented for people’s needs. The work seeks to address and redress issues surrounding use and ownership of land. Revisiting the 1968 Commonwealth Immigrants Acts, Congregation (Creating Dangerously Remix) will use workshops as a congregation to consider notions of freedom and long-term healing. This will be supported by a film commission as an inquiry into cultural amnesia as it relates to conditions of freedom under the hostile environment.
Alberta Whittle Alberta Whittle is an artist, researcher and curator. She was awarded a Turner Bursary, the Frieze Artist Award and a Henry Moore Foundation Artist Award in 2020. Alberta is a Research Associate at The University of Johannesburg. She was a RAW Academie Fellow at RAW Material in Dakar in 2018 and is the Margaret Tait Award winner for 2018/9.
Her creative practice is motivated by the desire to manifest self-compassion and collective care as key methods in battling anti-blackness. She choreographs interactive installations, using film, sculpture and performance as site-specific artworks in public and private spaces.
Alberta has exhibited and performed in various solo and group shows, including at Grand Union (2020), Eastside Projects (2020), DCA (2019), GoMA, Glasgow (2019), Pig Rock Bothy at the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh (2019), 13th Havana Biennale, Cuba (2019), The Tyburn Gallery, London (2019).
Her work has been acquired for the UK National Collections, The Scottish National Gallery Collections, Glasgow Museums Collections and The Contemporary Art Research Collection at Edinburgh College of Art amongst other private collections.
Over 2021, Alberta will be sharing new work as part of Art Night London, British Art Show 9, Liverpool Biennial, business as usual : hostile environment at Glasgow Sculpture Studios and Right of Admission at the University of Johannesburg.
OPPORTUNITY: Call for singer/dancer
Grand Union is looking for 1 professional dancer or 1 singer of Caribbean descent who is interested in performing to camera for a video piece for visual artist Alberta Whittle.
This video will focus on community building and hope whilst challenging negative historical stereotypes about race that still linger. A dancer or singer, ideally a woman of Caribbean descent with an interest in gospel, as well as contemporary dance, is needed for a sequence that will explore how colonialism was justified through the church.
The performer should be based in Birmingham. The dancer should be experienced with making her own choreography and be able to respond to a range of musical traditions, from jazz to hip-hop. The singer should be able to sing in a traditional gospel style.
The performance day will take the form of being on location, with artist Alberta Whittle directing and Sima Gonsai filming.
Rehearsal & meeting the artist: Thursday 20 January 2022
Performance to camera: Thursday 10 February 2022
Where: Grand Union Gallery & Warley Woods, Birmingham
Fee: All-inclusive fee of £250 for 1/2 day rehearsal and 1/2 day filming / performance to camera on location.
How to apply: If you are interested in this project, please send your CV and information to email@example.com by 6th January 2022.
Grand Union Gallery wishes to collaboratively embark on a long-term project to aid in the much-needed healing of our Birmingham community. We have commissioned British-Barbadian artist Alberta Whittle to present a new long-term body of work, Congregation (Creating Dangerously Remix), beginning during the lead up to the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Using public sculpture, film, workshops, and community gardening, this proposed work seeks to address and redress issues surrounding use and ownership of land.
Alberta Whittle is an artist, researcher and curator. She was a RAW Academie Fellow at RAW Material in Dakar in 2018 and is the Margaret Tait Award winner for 2018/9. She is the recipient of the Frieze Artist Award 2020, and was nominated for the Turner Prize 2020. In 2022 she will represent Scotland at the Venice Biennale. She was a Committee Member at Transmission Gallery in Glasgow and a Board Member of SCAN (Scottish Creative Art Network). Her creative practice is motivated by the desire to work collectively towards radical self-love. Informed by diasporic conversations, Alberta considers radical self-love and collective care key methods in battling anti-blackness. Her practice involves choreographing interactive installations, using film, sculpture and performance.
Following the recording and performance to camera on 10 February, this footage will be used in a larger film piece to be shown during the Commonwealth Games. On 1st August, we will screen this film in Birmingham Cathedral, as well as various locations following this TBC. This forms part of the Commonwealth Arts Programme 2022, and is supported by them and Arts Council England.