Bagri Foundation Commission at Hayward Gallery 2023

20 July – 22 October 2023

Project description

The Bagri Foundation and Hayward Gallery are pleased to present वेणु[Venu], a new, immersive and striking bamboo structure by Indian artist Asim Waqif, exploring themes of urban space, ecology and community.

The 2023 commission joins a vibrant portfolio of outdoor summer installations at the Southbank Centre, continuing the Centre’s commitment to providing engaging, free art for all.

Asim Waqif, who works at the intersection of art, architecture and design, is creating a large-scale artwork with a bamboo frame that will be supported by an industrial metal skeleton, combining two predominant materials associated with buildings from South Asia and London. Visitors will be able to walk inside and view the installation, and play musical instruments made from bamboo, which will be placed in and around the artwork.

This new public installation, which will be located on the Hayward Gallery Level 2 Terrace, is the third commission from the partnership with the Bagri Foundation since 2021, which provides artists from or inspired by Asia and its diaspora with the opportunity to create a prominent public commission.

The bamboo for this commission is generously donated by the Misty Mountain Experience in Peermade, Idukki, Kerala, India. The commission is realised with Shantanu Heisnam, Artist Collaborator. An earlier version of the work was commissioned by the 5th Kochi-Muziris Biennale. 

About the artist

Asim Waqif Based in Delhi, Asim Waqif (b. 1978) creates work that crosses between architecture, art and design with references to contemporary urban design and the politics of public spaces. After studying architecture at the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi and initially working as an art-director for film and television, Waqif later started making independent video and documentaries before moving into sculpture and large-scale installations. Concerns of ecology and anthropology often weave through his work, inspired by his extensive research on vernacular systems of ecological management, especially with respect to water, waste and architecture. His artworks often employ manual processes that are deliberately pain-staking and laborious, while the products themselves are often temporary and sometimes even designed to decay. He has held solo shows at Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite (2017) and Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012). Recent group exhibitions include the 5th Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi (2022), Durga Puja Pandal, Kolkata (2019), Colomboscope, Sri Lanka (2017), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2016), 8th Asia-Pacific Triennial, Brisbane (2015), and Marrakech Biennale (2014).

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.

Image credits: Details of Asim Waqif, Improvise, 2022 © the artist.