Epiphany (Temporaire) | Ort On The Road

Exodus Crooks 26 August – 17 September 2023

Ort Gallery & ICF are thrilled to announce Epiphany (Temporaire), a solo exhibition of new work by artist Exodus Crooks curated by Orphée Kashala.

The exhibition is a partnership between Ort Gallery and ICF, and is presented as part of ICF’s residency at Block 336.

Exodus Crooks’ work for this exhibition includes sculpture, film, text, and sculptural installation. They are invested in a process of carving out (sometimes literally) dialogues and bringing thoughts to the surface, from the layers of history, heritage and culture around them. In this 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 converge within the exhibition to form an allegory of personal stories of love, loss and pain.

Epiphany (Temporaire) invites us to witness, with reverence, as Exodus takes an inward journey, a slow walk home, a look inside. They place the creative process alongside the process of self-discovery, and search for self through creativity, home through imagination, and heritage through interrogation. In doing so, they reveal that who we are and our imagination are converging parallels, meeting on the horizon, and therefore diverging as we get closer to them. In this body of work, Exodus is deconstructing the idea of a linear self and setting a precedent for a multidimensional exploration of creativity and self-determination.

In developing this exhibition together, Orphée and Exodus have been in regular conversation for 12 months. The show stems from Ort Gallery and ICF’s Emergence(y) project for emerging curators, which Orphée was selected to participate in in 2021. As part of the project, Orphée undertook a residency at Ort Gallery in Birmingham to focus on his curatorial research and development. This residency coincided with Exodus’ DYCP (Develop Your Creative Practice awarded by Arts Council England) research in Jamaica. Together, they explored the themes of epiphany, temporariness, displacement, home, heritage, tradition, imagination, diaspora, creativity, honesty, spirituality, and self-determination.

Ort Gallery and ICF’s Emergence(y) project was made possible with support from Arts Council England.

Exodus Crooks is a British-Jamaican multidisciplinary artist, educator, and writer whose practice centres 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 & spirituality play in that journey to enlightenment. Based between the Midlands and the 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 & installation to further explore indigenous thought. Their breadth of experience in art and education can be seen in their work with Ikon Gallery, Vivid Projects, The New Art Gallery Walsall, the Film and Video Umbrella, Iniva, and the International Curators Forum.

Orphée Kashala is a UK-based Pan-African and Diasporic Art Curator and Cultural producer. He was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and currently lives in London. From 2020 to 2021 he worked as a producer at Maokwo in Coventry, and In 2021 he was selected for the Emergence(y) project in Birmingham — an Ort Gallery and ICF residency provision for emerging Curators to develop their practices. He is currently studying a degree in Arts Management at Goldsmiths University of London, where he continues his research in Arts and Culture. Orphée is interested in visual arts, visual cultures, semiotics, and performing arts.

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 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. They provide exhibition opportunities to Black and Brown artists, those from working class backgrounds, the LGBTQ+ community and artists with disabilities.

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.