Bagri Foundation Commission at Hayward Gallery 2022

5 August – 6 November 2022


Project description

The Bagri Foundation and the Hayward Gallery are pleased to announce the second commissioned artwork from award-winning artist Monira Al Qadiri, whose multifaceted practice spans sculpture, installation, film and performance. For the 2022 Bagri Foundation Commission at Hayward Gallery, Al Qadiri presents Devonian a visually mesmerising large-scale sculpture in iridescent hues on the Riverside Terrace in front of the Royal Festival Hall to reimagine links between nature and the fragility of our dependency on fossil fuels. 

Devonian is an outdoor sculpture which reanimates the ancient sea creatures that form today’s fossil fuels. Many of the oil deposits being extracted in the northern hemisphere were formed from the remains of the animals, plants and microorganisms that existed on Earth during the Devonian period, nearly 400 million years ago. Also referred to as The Age of Fish, it’s famous for the thousands of species of fish, crustaceans, shellfish and marine plants that developed during this era. The word Devonian comes from Devon, England, where the old red sandstone containing these fossils was first studied. In this towering sculpture, these fantastical, almost alien-like creatures – whose remains we currently use for fuel and plastics via petroleum – come alive again on our Riverside Terrace. Al Qadiri crystallises the moment oil was formed by animating the bodies of its original creators using her signature iridescent colours with an oil-like sheen. Devonian highlights the fragile nature of our dependence on fossil fuels by visually connecting the past and present of these Devonian beings, and questions their place in our collective future.

About the artist
Based in Berlin, Monira Al Qadiri (b. 1983) is a Kuwaiti visual artist born in Senegal and educated in Japan. Spanning sculpture, installation, film and performance, Al Qadiri’s multifaceted practice explores unconventional gender identities, petro-cultures and their possible futures, as well as the legacies of corruption. She has held solo exhibitions at Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2022), Art Gallery of Burlington, Toronto (2021), Haus der Kunst, Munich (2020), Circl Pavilion, Amsterdam (2018) and Gasworks, London (2017). Her recent group exhibitions include Expo 2020, Dubai (2021), the 8th Asia Art Biennial, Taiwan (2021), Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin (2021), Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2020), Migros Museum, Zurich (2020), MoMA PS1, New York (2019), and will be participating in the 59th Venice Biennale (2022). 
About the Commission series

Bagri Foundation and Hayward Gallery have partnered to present a series of new outdoor art commissions over three years (2021-2023) at the Southbank Centre. Aimed at providing artists from or inspired by Asia and its diaspora with the opportunity to create a prominent public commission, this initiative adds to the programme of outdoor art installations and exhibitions across the Southbank Centre’s iconic site. From its iconic Waterloo Billboard to its Riverside Walk, the buildings and outdoor spaces across the Southbank Centre have long been home to a diverse range of artistic works. The Hayward Gallery’s Bagri Foundation commission is the latest addition to a growing programme of temporary installations throughout the winter and summer months.

Read the three-year partnership announcement full press release here.

About the Hayward Gallery

The Hayward Gallery, part of the Southbank Centre, has a long history of presenting work by the world’s most adventurous and innovative artists including major solo shows by both emerging and established artists and dynamic group exhibitions. They include those by Bridget Riley, Martin Creed, Antony Gormley, Tracey Emin, Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha, Jeremy Deller, Anish Kapoor, René Magritte, Francis Bacon and David Shrigley, as well as influential group exhibitions such as Africa Remix, Light Show, Psycho Buildings and Space Shifters. Opened by Her Majesty, The Queen in July 1968, the gallery is one of the few remaining buildings of its style. The Brutalist building was designed by a group of young architects, including Dennis Crompton, Warren Chalk and Ron Herron and is named after Sir Isaac Hayward, a former leader of the London County Council.