Approved: 03.03.2015

Elizabeth Kwant


Approved: 03.03.2015

Elizabeth Kwant is a British Artist working with themes of identity, representation and migration. Her ongoing body of work “Mediterreanea” began in 2014, prompted by the onset of the European migrant crisis harnesses appropriated media images with specific reference to the locations of the Morocco- Melilla and Syria-Turkey border.

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    Elizabeth Kwant is a British Artist working with themes of identity, representation and migration. Her ongoing body of work “Mediterreanea” began in 2014, prompted by the onset of the European migrant crisis harnesses appropriated media images with specific reference to the locations of the Morocco- Melilla and Syria-Turkey border.

    Kwants bold and colourful screen prints playfully reinterpret the contemporary socio-political crisis often focusing upon a central character who’s taken out of their context. Dynamic compositions are executed with newspaper-like halftone quality; bodies contorted, are edited and re-represented. Figures embody positions of victory, aspiration, resignation and defeat. Brightly coloured backgrounds are carefully hand painted using 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…” The resulting body of work opens up tensions and paradoxes between the subject and their designated titles. Kwant speaks of this tension as ‘opening up a space to question wider narratives, how identity is constructed and ultimately how history is recorded.’


    More recently, Kwant has incorporated the use of gold into her screen prints. This act makes reference both to the meanings associated with the use of gold throughout art history - gold making reference to the divine, and also references the history of iconography. Through the act of placing her subjects on an iridescent gold plane, she both subverts the stereotype of their context as being readily recognisable, whilst also, in effect redeeming her subject. The gold becomes an abstract three dimensional space, in which the viewer can catch glimpses of themselves reflected back and is thus implicated into the narrative.

    The work is intended to be shown in sets, thereby creating a multi-layered effect echoing Stuart Hall’s call for hybridity in identity formation- the coexistence of multi-narratives, thus offering a space for the reinterpretation of the migrant, and our human stories.


    Kwant received an MA Fine Art with distinction from Edinburgh College of Art & Edinburgh University in 2006.  Her MA Thesis was titled "Translating Exile: A Politics of Identity and Representation in the work of contemporary Iranian artist Shirin Neshat." Kwant's research interests include: Contemporary Art from North Africa and The Middle East, Migration Studies, Visual Cultures, Identity Politics, Gender & Cultural studies. Kwant has lived in Morocco and Qatar, where she studied Arabic and is Exhibitions Curator at The Alexandria Library Manchester; a multi-cultural bookshop and artist- led exhibition space showcasing the work of emerging artists from the MENA region and diaspora. Kwant lives and works in Manchester, is a member of Hot Bed Press Print Studios and an Associate Member of The Castlefield Gallery.

    CV & Education

    Contemporary British Artist

    b. 1983.



    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. 



    Mini-Documentary Film Making Course, Duckrabbit. July 2017

    Studiobook 2017, Selected for Mark Devereux Projects Studiobook 17 Artists Professional Development Course.

    Film Making Course, Futureworks, Manchester. 2015

    Portrait Photography Course, Stills Edinburgh. 2009



    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.



    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. 



    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. 



    2018 Tilted Plane, an exhibition by  Lesley Halliwell. Zellij Arts, Manchester. Feb- April 2018.

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

    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.



    "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. 



    2015 & 2017 Seedbed Grant. 

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

    2006 The Andrew Grant Bequest. Edinburgh College of Art.