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Hayward Gallery welcomes a series of new outdoor commissions in partnership with the Bagri Foundation
A three-year partnership, announced today, between the Hayward Gallery and the Bagri Foundation will bring a series of new outdoor art commissions to 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 new initiative is the latest addition to a growing programme of outdoor art installations and exhibitions across the Southbank Centre’s iconic site.
The Bagri Foundation commission, launching next month, will take place every summer until 2023. Founded with roots in education, the Bagri Foundation is dedicated to realising artistic interpretations and ideas that weave traditional Asian culture with contemporary thinking. This mission underpins the three-year partnership between the Foundation and the Hayward Gallery, bringing new artistic encounters to the general public. Each year, an artist will be commissioned to produce a site-specific work that invites visitors to London’s Southbank Centre to experience contemporary art in a unique and unexpected space beyond the gallery.
The first commission launches in August 2021 with a large-scale installation by collective Slavs and Tatars. With a focus devoted to an area East of the former Berlin Wall and West of the Great Wall of China known as Eurasia, Slavs and Tatars’ practice questions understandings of language, ritual and identity through a blend of pop aesthetics, cultural traditions and overlooked histories. For their Bagri Foundation commission, the collective are creating a striking artwork that addresses a set of cultural histories intertwining Europe and Asia.
Dr Alka Bagri, Bagri Foundation Trustee, says: “The Bagri Foundation is thrilled to launch this exciting long-term partnership with the Hayward Gallery this summer. Following years of impressive outdoor installations at the Southbank Centre, we are privileged to bring a new, flagship commission to this well-respected institution in such an historical setting. Through this, the Foundation can provide an amazing opportunity for an artist from or inspired by Asia and its diaspora to embark on a new piece of work which audiences can visit safely. We look forward to experiencing the new commission by Slavs and Tatars this year and to future commissions.”
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. Last year, open air exhibitions Everyday Heroes, Koestler Arts’ No Lockdown in the Imagination, Phenomenal Women, Unseen and Winter Light transformed the Southbank Centre site into an outdoor gallery for visitors to explore while its buildings were closed. These initiatives, alongside seasonal features such as Jeppe Hein’s Appearing Rooms, an interactive fountain that has returned to the site almost every summer since 2007*, and upcoming projects from international artists (to be announced later this year), will emphasise the Southbank Centre’s public spaces as a cultural playground that is accessible for all and free to visit.
Ralph Rugoff, Director at the Hayward Gallery, says: “The events of the past year have placed unprecedented importance on outdoor spaces as places of enjoyment, connectivity and discovery. Our new partnership with the Bagri Foundation taps into this, enabling any visitor to the Southbank Centre site to have an unexpected encounter with art without having to purchase a ticket.”
Further information about the inaugural Bagri Foundation commission from Slavs and Tatars, launching this August, as well as forthcoming projects will be announced in the coming months.
Free outdoor installations currently on display across the Southbank Centre site include Ilke Gers’ Street Games (until 29 August 2021), a composition of chalk-drawn, reimagined games on our Level 2 Riverside Terrace; Linton Kwesi Johnson’s New Craas Massahkah (until 30 August 2021), an outdoor audio installation honouring the 14 young people who died as a result of a house fire in New Cross, south-east London in 1981; Samson Kambalu’s Black Jack (until 5 September 2021), a colourful display of remixed flags that explore iconography and visual patterns of flags from around the world; and Salman Toor’s Music Room (until May 2022), a painting exhibited on the Hayward Gallery’s Billboard. Visitors to The Clore Ballroom in Royal Festival Hall, a space open to the general public, will also be able to experience David Medalla’s A Stitch in Time (until 18 July 2021) where they can sew and stitch memories, words and small objects onto what becomes a shared installation, in a work that first opened for public participation in 1968.
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NOTES TO EDITORS
For further press information about the Hayward Gallery’s partnership with the Bagri Foundation and outdoor visual art installations across the Southbank Centre:
Hannah Carr, firstname.lastname@example.org / 07757 857104
For questions directed at the Bagri Foundation / email@example.com
* Due to social distancing and COVID-19 guidelines, Jeppe Hein’s Appearing Rooms will not be on display in summer 2021.
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.
About the Southbank Centre
The Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre occupying a prominent riverside location that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. We exist to present great cultural experiences that bring people together and we achieve this by providing the space for artists to create and present their best work and by creating a place where as many people as possible can come together to experience bold, unusual and eye-opening work. We want to take people out of the everyday, every day.
The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. The Southbank Centre is made up of the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery as well as being home to the National Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. It is also home to four Resident Orchestras (London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment) and four Associate Orchestras (Aurora Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain).
About the Bagri Foundation
The Bagri Foundation is a UK registered charity, inspired by unique and unexpected ideas that weave the traditional and the contemporary of Asian culture. The Foundation, with its roots in education, is driven by curiosity and a desire to learn, and aims for each project to challenge, engage and inspire. Through a diverse programme of film, visual arts, music, dance, literature and talks, the Bagri Foundation gives artists and experts from across Asia and the diaspora, wider visibility on the global stage. Recent projects include Tantra: enlightenment to revolution at the British Museum; Anicka Yi at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia; Asia Forum for the Contemporary Art of Global Asias and Nikhil Chopra at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
About Slavs and Tatars
Slavs and Tatars is an internationally renowned art collective devoted to an area East of the former Berlin Wall and West of the Great Wall of China known as Eurasia. Since its inception in 2006, the collective has combined popular culture, spiritual and esoteric traditions, oral histories, modern myths and scholarly research to explore polemical issues in society and clear new paths for contemporary discourse. Imbued with humour and a generosity of spirit, the collective’s practice, which spans installations, sculptures, lectures, and printed matter, questions one-dimensional ways of seeing relationships between science, religion, power and identity. Their work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, NY; Salt, Istanbul; Vienna Secession, Kunsthalle Zurich and Albertinum, Dresden, among others. Slavs and Tatars has published more than ten books to date, including Wripped Scripped on language politics; as well as a translation of the legendary Azerbaijani satirical periodical Molla Nasreddin. In addition to launching a residency and mentorship program for young professionals from their region, Slavs and Tatars recently opened Pickle Bar, a slavic aperitivo bar-cum-project space a few doors down from their studio in Moabit, Berlin.