In the House of my Love
8 July - 11 September 2022
The second edition of the Brent Biennial, In the House of my Love, will bring together artists and community groups whose works explore the many meanings of homemaking. It will present a series of artworks in the south of the borough, open and free for audiences to visit throughout the summer months.
In the House of my Love will feature projects by artists Arwa Aburawa & Turab Shah, Rasheed Araeen, Alex Baczynski-Jenkins, Rebecca Bellantoni, Ed Webb-Ingall, Linett Kamala, Mahmoud Khaled, Zinzi Minott, Shenece Oretha, Katarzyna Perlak, Mohammed Zaahidur Rahman and Sarah Rose, and will showcase four new, community-led commissions in collaboration with Mosaic LGBT+ Young Persons' Trust, Asian Women’s Resource Centre, SUFRA Foodbank and Kitchen and Young Roots.
The Biennial will ask how, and why, the act of making home can be a form of resistance and survival within the context of hostile environments—including those of racism, homophobia, ableism, climate catastrophe and political austerity.
Drawing its title from a line in poet Ezra Green’s A Poem to the Nationalist Marcher (For the Queer People of Warsaw), In the House of my Love understands ideas of home and belonging to take many shapes—whether as feelings, as relations between people, or as experiences of bodies and places.
It has been ten years since the implementation of the Hostile Environment policy in the UK. This damaging set of legislative and administrative measures primarily affects migrant and non-white communities, and is closely connected to increasingly nationalist, xenophobic and racist political and cultural agendas in Britain. Throughout its modern history, the various migrant communities that make up Brent have built infrastructures of care through developing grassroots services and crisis response networks, pioneering activist and union movements, and standing up for change in the borough and beyond.
The art practices shaping this year’s Biennial all explore various approaches towards homemaking built within friendship, chosen families, love and collaboration. Attending to the dialogues they generate, In the House of my Love will help us to collectively consider what makes Brent both a place where people feel like they belong, and where care and solidarity between different communities is nurtured through sharing experiences of unbelonging. These ideas of home appear throughout the programmes and exhibitions of the Biennial in many forms—whether through a song, a memory, a bedroom, a youth group, a church, a friend or a poem.
Led by Eliel Jones, Curator, in close collaboration with a curatorial committee consisting of artists Adam Farah, Jamila Prowse and Abbas Zahedi, the 2022 Brent Biennial pays homage to the many histories and legacies of migration that have made Brent both the second most ethnically diverse borough in London, and a local authority with one of the highest numbers of first-generation migrants in the country.
In the House of my Love seeks to provide a space for imagining new forms of homemaking as resistance, by honouring the long-standing systems of support, safety and hospitality that are currently present in Brent, revisiting other systems that are close to the borough’s past and working together to visualise and conceive ways forward.
Taking place in three cluster locations in the south of the borough—Kilburn, Willesden, and Harlesden—the Biennial will feature 12 artists’ projects, sited in 12 different venues and public spaces. It will also facilitate four community-led commissions that will extend beyond the Biennial exhibition dates, as well as four public artworks by Brent-based artists, commissioned via open call in partnership with the organisations BuildHollywood and Studio Voltaire, to be presented on billboards across the boroughs of Brent and Clapham. Further artists and practitioners from Brent and beyond will come to participate in the Biennial through an extended programme of activity with local partners, and through our public programme, more details of which will be announced soon.
The inaugural edition of the Brent Biennial took place as part of Brent 2020, the London Borough of Culture Programme. It was the largest arts event to take place in Brent since the Festival of Brent in 1992, with over 125,000 people seeing the artworks. Read more about the first Brent Biennial programme and events here and download the evaluation here.
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FURTHER BRENT BIENNIAL 2022 PROGRAMME DETAILS
In the House of my Love is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the gifts brought to light and shared by communities across Brent. Central to this is a collaborative commissioning process with four local organisations that have been identified as part of the Brent Biennial 2022 project: Asian Women’s Resource Centre, Sufra Foodbank and Kitchen North West London, Young Roots and Mosaic LGBT+ Young Persons' Trust.
Most of the community-led commissions will be realised in the long-term life of Metroland Cultures, extending beyond the dates of this year’s Biennial, and each will be developed in consultation with communities in the borough through a series of artist-facilitated workshops. Our hope is for these collaborative workshops to help participants identify the desires of these community groups and their constituents, to think together about the possibilities that are can be generated by working with artists and to consider new activities and offerings that could be realised, both in this year’s Biennial programme and beyond.
Supporting Brent-based artists
Alongside the Biennial, Metroland Cultures will deliver an expanded programme of activity that builds collaboration between local artists and communities, including two new programmes: Metroland Young Associates, a paid creative career development opportunity for young people in Brent, and Metroland Cohort: Peer-to-Peer, a programme to support visual artists in the borough through bursaries and professional development.
Responding to the need for further opportunities for artists in Brent, Metroland Cultures has also announced an open call for Brent-based artists to submit proposals for four public artworks, to be commissioned for presentation on high-street billboards in Brent and Clapham as part of the 2022 Brent Biennial programme. These four billboard commissions are made possible through a partnership with street advertising specialists Jack Arts, part of the BUILDHOLLYWOOD family, who support art and culture projects in public spaces across the UK, and with Studio Voltaire, who will host two of the billboards close to their gallery in Clapham—facilitating opportunities for Brent-based artists to enhance the visibility of their work and develop network-building beyond the borough.
Further collaborations with Brent-based arts organisations, including Harlesden High Street and ActionSpace, will provide additional opportunities for local artists to participate in the Biennial programme.
2022 Brent Biennial identity
The visual identity for the 2022 Brent Biennial is being developed by Marwan Kaabour, as Lead Designer, with commissioned illustrations by artist Mohammed Zaahidur Rahman, who is also participating in the Biennial programme. These illustrations will unfold in various stages and forms during the run-up to the exhibition, to create a final hero image for our website that responds to the Biennial’s title, In the House of My Love.