Epiphany (Temporaire) 2.0 | Ort On The Road

Exodus Crooks and Orphée Kashala 8 February – 21 April 2024

We are thrilled to announce that Epiphany (Temporaire) is coming to Birmingham!

Ikon Gallery will be hosting Epiphany (Temporaire), commissioned by Ort Gallery and International Curators Forum (ICF), and curated by Orphée Kashala. Originally presented at Block 336, London, in Summer 2023, the exhibition includes sculpture, film, text and sculptural installation by Midlands-based artist, Exodus Crooks and runs from 9th February to 21st April 2024.

Opening Event: Thursday 8th February, 5 – 7 pm. 

For Epiphany (Temporaire), Exodus has invested in a process of carving out (sometimes literally) dialogues from the layers of history, heritage and culture around them. Through an interrogation of domestic and familiar surfaces, Exodus is investigating the embodiment and repository of memories, histories and traditions, inherited, stored and transferred through time and shared space. A succession of profound experiences converges within the exhibition to form an allegory of personal stories of love, loss and pain.

Key works in Epiphany (Temporaire) include Doing Duties for Miss Dell (2023), an installation comprising a washing line, turf, clothes and a bedsheet with text. Inspired by a memory of the artist hanging out laundry for and with their maternal grandmother, this work speaks to the relationship with the artist’s matriarchal lineage, where chores and domestic duties were prioritised over, or equated with, the duty to love. Another installation, A message from my ancestors (2022-23), uses the significance of the wardrobe, seen in biblical and magical contexts, to represent a portal to other worlds. When visiting their ancestral land, the artist received a poem, originally titled For your twelve year old self, which has been carved into the wooden wardrobe, itself sourced from their childhood home. The exhibition also includes film works (Leti’guh (2022-23) comments on the process of gathering, having, holding and letting go of ideas), mixed media (Y: the symbol of man (2023) considers western discourses on gender which continue to be complex and inhibited) and archival materials.

The exhibition itself stems from Ort Gallery and ICF’s Emergence(y) project for emerging curators, in which Orphée Kashala participated in 2021. Together Exodus and Orphée have explored the themes of epiphany, temporariness, displacement, home, heritage, tradition, imagination, diaspora, creativity, honesty, spirituality, and self-determination.

This exhibition is presented as part of Ikon’s 60th anniversary year.

Exodus Crooks is a British-Jamaican multidisciplinary artist, educator, and writer whose art practice centres on the relationship with self. Observing the results of fractious domesticity, despair and passion, their art tends to appear as questions of self-actualisation and the role that religion and spirituality play in that journey to enlightenment. Based between the Midlands and North Jamaica, their art exists alongside their educational role. With themes of care, tenderness and reimagination at the core of their practice, Exodus uses gardening, text, filmmaking and installation to further explore indigenous thought. Their breadth of experience in art and education can be seen in their work with Ikon, Vivid Projects, The New Art Gallery Walsall, the Film and Video Umbrella, Iniva and the International Curators Forum.

Orphée Kashala is a Pan-African and Diasporic art curator and cultural producer. Kashala was a producer at Maokwo, Coventry (2020-2021), and was selected for the Emergence(y) project in Birmingham (2021), an Ort Gallery and ICF residency provision for emerging curators to develop their practices. His curatorial practice is a recourse to art and artists as mediums to lead the collective interrogation, interpretation and reckoning with human complexity. Kashala leans into contradiction and complication to untangle an intrinsically resistant, liberated, and decolonised counter-visuality. Kashala was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and now lives and works in the UK. Notable collaborations in his portfolio include the Belgrade Theatre, British Film Institute, Feng Ling Productions, The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry City of Culture 2021, The International Curators Forum and Kimatica Studios.

Ikon is an internationally acclaimed contemporary art venue situated in central Birmingham. Established in 1964 by a group of artists, Ikon is an educational charity and works to encourage public engagement with contemporary art through exhibiting new work in a context of debate and participation. The gallery programme features artists from around the world and a variety of media is represented, including sound, film, mixed media, photography, painting, sculpture and installation. Ikon’s off-site programme develops dynamic relationships between art, artists and audiences outside the gallery. Projects vary enormously in scale, duration and location, challenging expectations of where art can be seen and by whom. Education is at the heart of Ikon’s activities, stimulating public interest in and understanding of contemporary visual art. Through a variety of talks, tours, workshops and seminars, Ikon’s Learning Team aims to build dynamic relationships with audiences, enabling visitors to engage with, discuss and reflect on contemporary art.

Ort Gallery is a visual arts and poetry organisation based in Birmingham. They are on a social mission to redefine contemporary visual arts by rejecting the sector’s exclusivity, centring access and equity, and providing inclusive high quality art experiences. They support this mission with a care-centred approach (aka Warmth) and give artists, team members and participants autonomy over their projects. Ort believes everyone should have access to high quality art experiences and aims to meet that standard by providing exhibition and professional development opportunities to artists, creatives and community members across all backgrounds. Ort Gallery place Warmth at the heart of all their work. They recognise that galleries can be sites of oppression which centre and reproduce white normative and elitist ways of ‘being’ under the supposed guise of neutrality. Ort is interested in challenging this head on; whilst also committing to creating space for local artists and marginalised community groups of the wider Birmingham area to play an active role in shaping such practices, in the hopes of transforming both the city and industry.

International Curators Forum (ICF) was founded by artists and curators in 2007 to offer a programme of commissions, exhibitions, projects, publications and events that respond to the material conditions and cultural contexts impacting creative practitioners today. ICF engages with the concept of diaspora as a critical framework through which we can address and complicate notions of identity, test and explore new innovative curatorial models, and create space for artistic and discursive interventions into historical narratives and systems of representation. Based in London, ICF has conceived and produced projects with artists, curators and thinkers who engage with diaspora across the UK, Europe, the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East and Australia.