Binita Walia (born 1971, Kampala) graduated from Edinburgh College of Art 1994 and the Royal College of Art 1997. Living and working in South East London.
I like to map the cultural, social and physical landscape within communities to make large scale architectural glass commissions for buildings. My work is luminous and vivid, creating magical plays with colour, glass and light that delight the viewer. ‘A Solar System for Aberdaron’ comprises 10 suspended panels for a new National Trust building in Wales. This artwork evokes the pilgrimage, spirituality and landscapes of the Lyn Peninsular.
In Butetown, Cardiff I was asked to create a work that would directly reflect the rich local diversity. I evolved local maps into drawings, referenced the maritime history and included drawings of the buildings all on a backdrop of a colourful watercolour landscape suggesting the places local people had come from originally.
Since 2013 I have been exploring my personal historic and contemporary cultural reference points to express ideas about domesticity, relationships and responsibilities. I started using list-making as an artistic process, feeding back and contributing to both my personal life and artistic practice. Using the potency of these lists to express the minutiae of my life, I elevate the ordinary feats of everyday tasks to a higher status by writing and recreating them in gold.
The Modern Woman is a series of installations will be exploring cultural rebelliousness in British Asians, gender heritage and women’s sense of duty, making use of installation, video, textiles and everyday objects. This new work is a progression of the mapping I carry out in the place I am commissioned in. Taking my in-depth research of the community I convert it into symbolic imagery, colour and light artworks.
I am attracted to celebrating and elevating the ordinary, mundane and forgotten.
CV & Education
March-April2015 Twelve, Kali Theatre Company Set design for a new touring play.
September 2014 -2015 Modern Women Arts Council grant funded mixed media artworks with a show at Airspace Gallery Stoke-on-Trent in Feb 2015, Film, Jewellery, Textiles, photography, sculpture.
June 2014 - June 2015 Dulwich Picture Gallery with Anxiety Arts Festival. Working with a specially selected elderly group from Good Times, on a special, collaborative public art project for the glazing in the cloisters of the gallery. To celebrate the successful Good Times programme.
September 2013 - Henfaes Aberdaron. Glass mobile commission for this new Centre for Coastal Excellence. Client National Trust.
October 2013 - Prospect Place, Cardiff CBaT, RMA Architects. Glass commission for a residential tower.
December 2012 Kali Theatre Company. Shared Memories. A collaborative installation for theatre.
April 2012 - April 2013 Butetown Community Centre. A 35sq meter glazed artwork for the front of building and signage.
2010 MyIdeasBook.com Researched developed and built a virtual sketchbook website for schools.
October 2010 South Petherton Hospital Somerset PCT, Commissioned to create a glazed artwork for a roof light. I created an antique glass & printed mirror ‘Rainbow Garden’
June 2009 Heaven, Newcastle. Glazed entrance windows, glazed screen, wall work and collaboration on signage and wayfinding for a new mental health unit with MAAP Architects.
October 2008 Arundel Great Court, The Strand, London. Shortlisted for a major development and large public realm artwork for the façade. The building has currently been refused Planning permission.
October 2008 Newman Street, Fitzrovia, London. Property Management Group residential development. Public Realm artworks for two separate entrances to the building. On Hold.
July 2008 - Dec 2009 Durham PFI Hospital. Selected as lead artist for main entrance glazing and integrated identity artworks. Also responsible for mentoring and overseeing landscape artwork and faith centre artworks by Keiko Mukeide.
July 2008 Great Ormond Street Hospital, Shortlisted to concept design an artwork for the glazing of a new building by Llewellyn Davis Yeang Architects. Shortlisted with Tord Boontje.
January – June 2008 Swiss Centre, Leicester Sq, London. Selected to concept design for the glass façade (450 sq mtrs) and lighting scheme of this new building. Collaboration with Jestico + Whiles and Maurice Brill Lighting. Shortlisted with Martin Richman and Jason Bruges. I was initially selected and supported by the design team to collaborate and develop the concept over 6 months.
Completed 2008 St Nicholas Hospital, Newcastle MAAP Architects, I designed and made four windows for a new Learning Disabilities unit.
Completed 2007 Maddox St, London Private commission for six glass panels on the front of a new building.
Completed 2006 Gravesham Hospital lobby. Commissioned by Impact Art to create an on site ‘drawing’ onto a glass balustrade for the new hospital in Gravesend, Kent.
Completed 2005 All Saints Church, Blackheath, London. I was commissioned to create a text based glass artwork applied on site for a newly designed glass porch inside the building.
Completed 2006 Salisbury District Hospital. Commissioned to design and supply an integrated glass work for a new glass corridor, which is an extension to the hospital.
Completed 2005 Nuffield House, Harlow, Essex I was selected to design and supply a large scale glass artwork for the frontage of a new health centre. The design is of a fantastical landscape with a flock of butterflies swooping above people walking up a hill which is actually an aerial view of Harlow.
Completed 2003 'Resident Artist.' Collaboration with Mode 1 Architects Regeneration scheme. Angell town estate action, Brixton. Brief: to introduce 'art for everyone' and form part of the architect's design strategy, which included intense resident consultation. I was on the design team and have had input into many aspects of the regeneration, including landscape and lighting.
March 2001 – Jan 2003 Commissioned by Oakfern Housing Association in Basingstoke.
June 2001 Shortlisted by Leicester Cultural Mapping
October 2000 Collaboration with muf. architecture/art - 'Holden Street' Commission.
October 1998 Private commission for a site-specific work Bankside, London.
July 1998 IYHP Permanent drawing onto a glass conservatory
1997 Site-specific glass screen in surveillance mirror at St. John the Baptist Church
Current Collective Feelings I am developing a new artwork combining glass sculpture and etching quotes derived from asking people about their feelings.
November 2011 Consultant to The Artists Information Company for a research project.
June 2010 – current MyIdeasBook.com Created and developed an online tool for creatives.
January 2009 Mycake & Artquest case study for the Artquest website on using the ‘Mycake’ bookkeeping system.
October 2008 Artbase providing public art commission training workshops to Artbase apprentices.
September 2007 London Design Festival exhibition with Deptford Design 07 at Cockpit Arts.
December 2007 Artquest Conference speaker - Refiguring Forum – Dialogue, Practice, Responsibility
July 2007 Website Launched The Space InBetween.co.uk
October 2006 Art and the Public Garden Landor and A&AJ Conference
February 2006 Intersection Conference organised by Artquest on themes of collaboration.
December 2005 Artquest one-to-one advice session.
November 2005 The Great Artistic Metropolis Art & Architecture Journal, 1st annual Public Art conference.
April 2004 - May 2008 Forum commissioned by Artquest to run an artist’s network with 10 artists.
Additional experience and projects
2004 Deptford X BME Artists Consultation Report. Commissioned by deciBel.
1997 - 2004 Management Board Member - 'Art and Architecture'.
2002 – current Administrator to Kali Theatre Company, Part time.
2000 - 2001 Visiting lecturer in site-specific glass, University of Surrey. Roehampton.
Selected Past Exhibitions
October 1999 Created Space. Group show. Whiteleys, Bayswater, London.
July 1999 000ZEROZEROZERO. Group show Whitechapel Gallery, London.
May and June 1997 Final Year show. The Royal College of Art.
Sep to Oct 1996 The Space in-between (windows on living and architecture) The Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham.
Lectures and Publications
Publication 2003 AA Files 49 ‘Hints of a Post Colonial Architecture’ by Sunand Prasad.
Seminar July 2003 a-n The Artists Information Company. ‘Making permanent work for public contexts’
Publication July 2003 Crafts Magazine, Commissions news piece, Basingstoke project.
Publication May 2003 Blueprint Magazine. Full page Profile.
Publication May 2003 [a-n] Magazine. Full page Artists Story, Basingstoke project.
Publication May 2003 Art and Architecture Journal of Public Art, Issue 58, 2 Page artists story. Angell Town project.
Publication March 2003 Building magazine, News feature, Basingstoke project.