The Showroom



21 April – 5 June 2010

Estrangement was a project initiated by Polish curator and artistic director of Wyspa Institute of Art, Aneta Szylak and Iraqi-Kurdish artist Hiwa K. Estrangement is a curatorial and educational enterprise outside of one’s familiar context or within the context to which one does not belong.

Involving artists from both Europe and the Middle East through international residencies, research and projects, Estrangement sought ways to rethink cultures of representation as well as creating a space for intimate and individual encounters. Estrangement was a proposal situated in improvised space where a minuscule series of affects, may they be epiphanies or frustrations, is made possible. At The Showroom, Estrangement presented works and contextual material gathered from its earlier incarnations, alongside two new commissions by Hiwa K and Polish artist Joanna Rajkowska following their residencies in the Church Street neighbourhood and Edgware Road areas.

Hiwa K collaborated with Jim White, a former American soldier and now a caretaker at a German art academy, on a live ten-minute performance simulating Ennio Morricone’s score for the final duel scene of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western Once Upon A Time In The West. The work is an enquiry into the redistribution of dominant cultural representations and competences. Hiwa K and Jim White – who was taught to play country guitar music by the artist – perform with Zone One Brass at The Cockpit Theatre on 20 April 2010 at 8pm.

Rajkowska’s project refers to the history of Edgware Road as an ancient thoroughfare and since the nineteenth century a place where migrants from the Middle East settle. She proposed a vehicle: a chariot, decorated in collaboration with the Edgware Road community, to be driven through the streets surrounding the gallery on 20 April 2010, 12–2pm. Chariots are refined ancient war machines that originated from Central Asia but were in use longest in Britain. The piece explored the Middle Eastern origins of this vehicle whilst considering ideas of destination, arrival and circulation of cultural forms.

Works by Sherko Abbas, Shirwan Can, Shirwan Fatih, Gaylan Abdulla Ismahel, Maryam Jafri, Poshya Kakil, Hüseyin Karakaya, Anton Katz, Reben Majeed, Rozhgar Mahmud Mustafa, Mattias Olofsson, Diary Muhammad Osman, Nehro Shauki and Knutte Wester were presented in the gallery. A single issue publication designed by Abäke with Jackson Lim with contributions by some the artists and the curators as well as Irit Rogoff, Francesca Recchia, Cihat Arinc and Janna Graham further developed the themes, as did a panel discussion between Aneta Szylak, Hiwa K, Janna Graham, Maryam Jafri and Hardi Kurda on 22 April 2010, 6.30pm.

The project is an outcome of the partnership between The Showroom and Wyspa Institute of Art.

Hiwa K’s residency is organised in collaboration with the Serpentine Gallery, and Joanna Rajkowska’s project is part of POLSKA! YEAR. With additional thanks to The Delfina Foundation. Additional financial support for the project has been provided by Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the Polish Cultural Institute and Goethe Institut.

Research funding for Aneta Szylak and Hiwa K was provided by American Center Foundation, European Cultural Foundation, ifa and Platform Garanti.

The project was part of POLSKA! YEAR. POLSKA! YEAR comprises more than 200 events promoting Polish culture in the UK. The project takes place under the patronage of HM The Queen and HE The President of the Republic of Poland. POLSKA! YEAR is coordinated by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and supported by the Polish Embassy and the Polish Cultural Institute in London.

  1. 01760
    Event Book Launch: Joanna Rajkowska: Where The Beast Is Buried

  2. Event Chicago Boys: While we were singing, they were dreaming...

  3. Event Panel discussion: Aneta Szylak, Hiwa K, Janna Graham, Cihat Arinc, Maryam Jafri and Hardi Kurda

  4. Joanna_chariot_drawing
    Event Joanna Rajkowska: Chariot

  5. Hiwa_guitar_lesson
    Event Hiwa K performance at The Cockpit Theatre