Yas has invited four artists into the second gallery for Woven Tongue at Eastside Projects as part of their Artist-Curator traineeship.
Each artist reflects Yas’ heritage – Turkish Cypriot, Pakistani, Welsh and Yemeni. Each of these artists, while being contemporary, use imagery and techniques which are traditional. Printmaking, classical painting, imagery of Islam and veiling – for example. The curator wanted to draw on the similarities between these four backgrounds.
One of the similarities being a craft culture using straw and plaiting to make decorative, useful objects. Yas learnt that Straw Working is an endangered craft within the UK, listed on the craft councils ‘red list.’ Yas is learning how to straw plait to make sculptures which they will eventually gift to the artists and are also visible in the middle of the exhibition space itself. During this process, Yas has become a member of the Guild of Straw Craftsmen.
This exhibition will bring to attention the historical suppression by the British Colonial government of cultures and language within the places the artist represent – as well as the contemporary involvement of Britain within these countries. Yas is also aware that the idea of being ‘mixed’ is racial/biological essentialism and perverts the true nature of being human. What being ‘mixed’ really means is an existence because of colonial legacies and trauma. But also, importantly, because of migration, love and sex between people from different places. Yas describes this show as autoethnographic.