Approved: 03.03.2015

Elizabeth Kwant

Artist

Approved: 03.03.2015

Kwant’s work investigates contemporary socio-political issues; migration, immigration, slavery and representation. She has produced and participated in a number of socially engaged arts projects with refugees and asylum seekers in partnership with local organisations. Her practice is primarily research based, involving archive material and a journalistic approach to the documentation of human stories. Working across mediums of screen printing, photography and moving image installation. Recent projects include Tracing Presence (2012-2013) a year long artist residency produced in partnership with The Mustard Tree and The Boaz Trust Manchester, in which the artist responded to female asylum seekers by painting a series of life size portraits commenting upon presence and absence. Mediterranea (2016- 2017) critically engaged with media representations of the ‘European migrant crisis’ through a series of screen prints painted with brightly coloured backgrounds. Tensions and paradoxes surrounding the crisis playfully emerge through the artist’s choice of everyday household paint colours chosen specifically for their idealised titles “Utopia Beckons, Fare Thee Well, No Boundaries, Adrift at Sea, California Dreaming, Sundown, Golden Rays, English Primrose...” More recently, In Transit (2017- 2018) a moving image installation, traces the primary western migration route in the Mediterranean. In partnership with The Boaz Trust Manchester, the artist spent time listening to testimonies by British asylum seekers. These stories were interpreted by the artist into a series of movements performed in site specific locations from Morocco, Spain (and the Straits of Gibraltar) to Manchester. The work traces one of the deadliest transit routes the Mediterranean, giving voice to untold stories and performing these within the public realm. Documented on video with sound, the work is presented as a moving image installation.

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    Biography

    Kwant’s work investigates contemporary socio-political issues; migration, immigration, slavery and representation. She has produced and participated in a number of socially engaged arts projects with refugees and asylum seekers in partnership with local organisations. Her practice is primarily research based, involving archive material and a journalistic approach to the documentation of human stories. Working across mediums of screen printing, photography and moving image installation. Recent projects include Tracing Presence (2012-2013) a year long artist residency produced in partnership with The Mustard Tree and The Boaz Trust Manchester, in which the artist responded to female asylum seekers by painting a series of life size portraits commenting upon presence and absence. Mediterranea (2016- 2017) critically engaged with media representations of the ‘European migrant crisis’ through a series of screen prints painted with brightly coloured backgrounds. Tensions and paradoxes surrounding the crisis playfully emerge through the artist’s choice of everyday household paint colours chosen specifically for their idealised titles “Utopia Beckons, Fare Thee Well, No Boundaries, Adrift at Sea, California Dreaming, Sundown, Golden Rays, English Primrose...” More recently, In Transit (2017- 2018) a moving image installation, traces the primary western migration route in the Mediterranean. In partnership with The Boaz Trust Manchester, the artist spent time listening to testimonies by British asylum seekers. These stories were interpreted by the artist into a series of movements performed in site specific locations from Morocco, Spain (and the Straits of Gibraltar) to Manchester. The work traces one of the deadliest transit routes the Mediterranean, giving voice to untold stories and performing these within the public realm. Documented on video with sound, the work is presented as a moving image installation.


    Kwant has exhibited locally and internationally. Selected exhibitions include; Canada House Manchester (Supported by LJ Partnerships and Ministry to Business). Radical and Real Film Shorts (HOME Manchester, June 2018), AIR Gallery OPEN 2018 (Manchester), Waiting (35 Chapel Walk, Sheffield 2018),  In Transit (Genesis Centre Paris, 2018)  Across the Seas (Sam Scorer Gallery, Lincoln, 2018), IWAYA Community Arts Festival, (Lagos, Nigeria, 2017), Mediterranea (DOK Artist Space, Leith Edinburgh, 2017) In Nothing Flat (Mark Devereux Projects, Manchester, 2017) and Framing the Crisis (System Gallery, curated by Vault Collective Newcastle 2017). Kwant is the Founder and Curator of Zellij Arts, an artist- led project highlighting the work of emerging artists working trans-nationally across The Middle East, North Africa and diaspora. Kwant has been awarded an Arts Council National Lottery Project Grant for her current practice-led research “Surveying the Land: Legacies of Slavery” (2018- 2019) in partnership with the International Slavery Museum, Liverpool.


    Kwant lives and works in Manchester and is a studio holder at Castlefield Gallery’s New Art Space, Trafford.

     

    CV & Education

    Artist & Curator

    b. 1983.

     

    EDUCATION

    MA Fine Art, 1st Class Honours with distinction. Edinburgh University/ Edinburgh College of Art 2001- 2006.

    MA THESIS: "Translating Exile: Identity and Representation in the work of contemporary Iranian Artist Shirin Neshat." Awarded a 1st Class Honours, Edinburgh University 2006.

     

    SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

    2018 In Transit (solo) Canada House, Manchester. 14th - 21st September 2018.

    2018 Air Gallery OPEN, PV Thursday 9th August, continues until 28th September 2018.

    2018 Radical and Real Film Shorts HOME Manchester, part of Refugee Week Festival, Saturday 16th June 12.45pm, followed by Q&A with filmmakers

    2018 Waiting group exhibition, 35 Chapel Walk Sheffield in association with Migration Matters. 16th- 21st June

    2018 In Transit, Genesis Centre, 15 Rue des Lavandières Sainte-Opportune, 75001 Paris. 25th May- 8th June 2018.

    2018 Across the Seas, Sam Scorer Gallery, Lincoln - A Time and Tide Bell Art Exhibition, part of a Continuing Arts Programme facing Lincolnshire's Coast. May 7th- 20th.

    2017 Still No Longer At EaseIWAYA Community Arts Festival, Lagos, Nigeria, curated by Aderemi Adegbite, ICAF Lagos. 6-12th December.

    2017 Mediterranea DOK Artist Space, Leith, Edinburgh. 25th Nov- 3rd Dec. Curated by Olivia Turner, DOK Artist Space. 

    2017 In Nothing FlatStudiobook 17 group exhibition, Old Granada Studios, Manchester. Curated by Mark Devereux Projects. 4th - 15th November.

    2017 Utopia BeckonsAdd Art UK, Installed in the Public Space, Oldham Road, Manchester.

    2017 Greater Manchester Arts Prize, Group exhibition selected by Helen Wewiora (Director of Castlefield Gallery), Paulette Terry Brien (Co-director of The International 3, and Co-curatorial co-ordinator of The Manchester Contemporary), Rachel Goodyear (Artist), Louise Durose (Collector), Andrew Brooks (Photographer).

    2017 Framing the Crisis, Group exhibition curated by Vault Collective at System Gallery Newcastle accompanied by a public seminar "Re-imagining the Nation: Togetherness, Belonging and Mobility" led by Dr Claire Sutherland (Durham Univeristy).

    2017 MediterraneaNomas Projects, Dundee, 16th March- 20th April.

    2016 Be Welcome, St Ann's Church, Curated by Lesley Sutton of PassionArt. Manchester | Oct- Nov 2016

    2016 Rogue 21, Waterside Art Centre, Sale | Sat 23 July - Sat 22 October 2016.

    2016 Europa, Group show at Transition Gallery London, curated by Cathy Lomax. 17th- 25th June. 

    2016 Open Studios New Art Spaces, Chorlton, supported by The Castlefield Gallery, Manchester. May 28th.  

    2015 Colloquies The Wall @ The Hillary Step, Chorlton, Manchester. Curated by Rosalind Sandhu- Cartlich. October 8th-Nov 15th. 

    2015 New and recent worksThe Alexandria Library, Manchester. July- Sept. 

    2015 Art Battle Manchester, The Soup Kitchen, Manchester. 5th June. 

    2013 Tracing Presence, The Accumulator Tower, The People's History Museum in conjunction with Manchester University and Platforma Festival, Manchester.

    2013 Tracing PresenceZ-Arts, Manchester. A group show in partnership with Virtual Migrants, Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, and Asylum Support Housing Advice produce for Refugee Week, a national Festival of Refugee Arts. 

    2013 Tracing PresenceThe Mustard Tree, Manchester. In partnership with The Boaz Trust. 

    2013 Creative Hands Foundation Open Exhibition, Manchester.

    2013 Electric Picture House Open, Congleton, Cheshire.

    2013 Tracing Presence, St. Peter's Church, Manchester.

    2012 Transition, Departure Gallery, London (now HUSK). 

    2012 The Cube Open 2011, Cube Gallery, Manchester. 

    2011-2012 13th Annual Photographic Processes Juried Online International Art ExhibitionUpstream People Gallery. Omaha, USA.

    2011 We Are All In This Together, Bureau Gallery, Manchester.

    2011 SOLAS, St. Peter's Church, Dundee. 

    2011 PassageNexus Art Cafe, Manchester. 

    2009 Treasures of Beni Mellal, Moroccan Ministry of Culture, Beni Mellal & Culturelink International. Morocco.

    2008 Visages, Galerie d’ Art Nouiga, Rabat, Morocco. 

    2008 Stories of Beni Mellal,  Moroccan Ministry of Culture, Beni Mellal & Culturelink International. Morocco.

    2007 Exposition par les AutresUniversité Sultan Moulay Slimane, Beni Mellal. Morocco.

     

    CURATED

    2018 upcoming Mai Al Shazly, curated in partnership with Zellij Arts and The Alexandria Library, Manchester. Supported by Mophradat and 5th Nov 2018 - 26th Jan 2019.

    2018 upcoming Saima Rashid, curated in partnership with Zellij Arts and Asia Triennial Manchester 2018. The Alexandria Library, 5th- 21st October 2018.

    2018 "A Room of One's Own" by The Travelling Heritage Bureauco- curated in partnership with Digital Women's Archive North [DWAN] and Zellij Arts. The Alexandria Library, Manchester. 4th August - 28th Sept 2018

    2018 "Me, Myself and I: Relocate the Multi- Layered Identity" Fatemeh Takht Keshian. Curated in partnership with Zellij Arts and The Alexandria Library, Manchester. 27th April- 28th July 2018,

    2018 "Tilted Plane" an exhibition by Lesley Halliwell. Curated in partnership with Zellij Arts and The Alexandria Library. 3rd Feb- 21st April.

    2017 Paradise Lost: Curatorial-Art Lab for Asia Triennial Manchester 2018. Hosted by The Alexandria Library, Manchester. Co- curated by Alnoor Mitha and Elizabeth Kwant. 21st November 2018

    2017 "Personal Maps" George Sfougaras, The Alexandria Library, Manchester. Oct - Dec 2017. 

    2017 "Fabric of Time, Seas of Space" an exhibition by Lori K. GordonThe Alexandria Library, 1st July- 30th September 2017.

    2017 "This Cloth: An Archaeology of Identity" an exhibition by Saffina Bhatti. The Alexandria Library, Manchester. 30th March- 24th June.

    2016- 2017 "Stitching my Syria Back" an exhibition by Mohamad KhayataThe Alexandria Library, 3rd Dec- 25th Feb 2017. 

    2016 Ahmed ElHassanThe Alexandria Library, Manchester. October 22nd- Nov 25th 2016.

    2016 "In Search of the Promised Land" by Ashleigh Beattie. The Alexandria Library, Manchester 17th June- 24th Sept. 

    2016 Amang Mardokhy. The Alexandria Library, Manchester. 

    2015- 2016 Rachel Pearsey "The Coming". The Alexandria Library, Manchester.

    2015 Hazel Burns Photography. The Alexandria Library, Manchester.

    2013 Angels and Demons, by Graham Husdon. The Life Centre, Sale. 

    Sept 2011 Curatorial InternMathaf: The Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha Qatar.

    2011 No. 1 Paint. Exhibitions Curator; Blank Media Collective, Manchester.

    2009 Treasures of Beni Mellal. Moroccan Ministry of CultureBeni Mellal.  

    2008 Visages, Galerie d Art Nouiga, Rabat, Morocco.

    2008 Stories of Beni Mellal. Moroccan Ministry of Culture, Beni Mellal.

    2007 Exposition par les Autres. Université Sultan Moulay Slimane, Beni Mellal. Morocco, May– June.

    RESIDENCIES

    Artist in Residence, The Castlefield Gallery New Art Spaces, Chorlton. August 2015- Sept 2016

    Artist in Residence, in partnership with The Boaz Trust & The Mustard Tree, Manchester. June 2012- Dec 2012.

    Artist in Residence, Nexus Art Cafe, Manchester. Feb- April 2011. 

      

    TEACHING

    2017 Visiting speaker "Mediterranea" Nomas Projects, Dundee. 

    2016 Visiting Speaker Be Welcome, St. Ann's Church, Manchester. Nov 2016. 

    2016 Visiting Speaker, Nazarene Theological College, Manchester. 

    2016 Visiting Speaker, Community Arts Course: Incarnate School, Italy. 

    2013 Visiting Speaker, Nazarene Theological College, Manchester. 

    2013 Workshop Leader & Project Planner: "Belonging/s" Artist led workshops, with Rolls Crescent Primary School and Z-Arts, Manchester. 

    2013 Visiting Speaker, Z-Arts, Manchester. 

    2012 Visiting Speaker on the topics of "Immigration" & "A Sense of Place", Canon Slade School, Bolton. 

    2012 Workshop Leader & Project Planner: "Meaningful Lives" Produced as part of "5 Ways to Wellbeing". A series of Participatory art workshops with The Boaz Trust, Manchester.

    2012 Guest Lecturer on the topic “The Cross Cultural Artist”, Incarnate School, Italy.

    2011 Workshop Leader & Producer“Belonging/s Project” The Boaz Trust, Manchester. 

    2011 Workshop Leader & Producer: “Passage Project,” Nexus Art Cafe & The Boaz Trust.

    2005 Art Teacher (Primary age) Dalit Education Centre, Hyderabad, India.

     

    PUBLICATIONS/ PRESS

    VIVID "Making it as Mom, Artist and Curator" Artist Interview by Lydia Borg, published by OM ARTS, May 2018. p 10-13

    "Be Welcome" exhibition catalogue published by PassionArt designed by Micah Purnell. 2016

    "Settimo Tamanini: Trees of Great Mothers" by Elizabeth Kwant. ArtWay Visual Meditation April 17 2016.

    “Un appel à la vie et à la sagesse” La Matin, Morocco. October 26th

    2008. “Snarling dogs, tattooed pigs, a live robot lesson and other degree show highlights.” The Scotsman. June 20th 2006. 

     

    AWARDS

    2017 Selected for Studiobook17-  professional development course curated by Mark Devereux Projects (MDP). 

    2015 & 2017 Seedbed Grant. 

    2011 Three Special Recognition Awards by Upstream People Gallery. Omaha, USA. 

    2006 The Andrew Grant Bequest. Edinburgh College of Art.