YORK artist Graham Martin and Nigerian poltical performance artist Jelili Atiku are working together in Yorkshire and Cumbria this summer.
“The theme of our international artistic collaboration is art and humanity and it will incorporate actions, residencies, live artistic research, talks, workshops and participation,” says Graham.
“For over a year we’ve been engaged in dialogue concerning the possibility of working together, and Jelili’s invitation to present his work at the Tate Modern Festival of Live Art in London this summer has made our collaboration possible.”
Supported by Arts Council England, the project will begin on Sunday in Cumbria with a seven-day private research residency at Kurt Schwitters Merzbarn, Langdale, Ambleside.
This will be followed by a workshop in Carlisle on July 29 before the artists move on to North Yorkshire for a private residency at The House project, Knipe Point, Scarborough, from August 2 to 5.
A free Art & Being workshop will be held at Woodend Creative Industries Centre, in The Crescent, Scarborough, on August 4 from 2pm to 5pm. “We’ll show videos from Occupy Wall St (New York), and then we’ll each give an artist talk,” says Graham.
“Informal group discussions will lead to creative activity around thoughts and feelings on life, living and contemporary society, culminating in collaborative creative action by all in a public space.”
This workshop is open to all. “It should especially interest those involved in human rights, ecology and campaign work and art practitioners too,” says Graham. “No art skill is needed! Just bring your humanity.”
You can book by phoning 01723 384500 or turn up on day.
The collaboration will conclude in York on August 7 with what Graham calls “public actions” in Parliament Street, where there will be an activity area near the Halifax bank from 3pm to 5pm, followed by a talk by the artists at the Space 109 comunuity arts centre in Walmgate at 7pm. Admission is free.
Graham’s art covers text, photography, actions, and mixed-media objects and often addresses social and human concerns, albeit in a playful way.
He has shown work across Britain and in Germany, Russia, Italy and Mongolia. His 2011 solo show at Gallery 11 Bradford, The Revolution Is Healing, was inspired by Joseph Beuys’s notion of “a collective negation of common humanity” and explored common wounds, healing and the contemporary accumulation of loss.
Graham is also the director and curator of Agency – Art, Life and Society, an international curatorial project based in Yorkshire.
Nigerian Jelili,a multimedia and political artist with concerns for human rights and justice, is presenting work at the Tate Modern Festival of Live Art this summer.
In 2009, his performance video, Victim of Political Assassination was showcased in Paris, Berlin and Madrid, and that year he featured in the Geisai Contemporary Art Fair in Tokyo and the Freedom To Create Prize in Singapore.
Since then, he has been involved in an performance project, In the Red, which uses red as a symbol of life, suffering, danger and violence.
“Our collaboration sees two artists working together from different cultural contexts and developing practice through creative interaction and exchange around art making and action,” says Graham. “This research has been programmed, however, so that there are chances for audiences in the region to meet and work with us. We hope you will join us at some point.”