Goodbye 2019 and hello 2020!
Well, 2019 has certainly been an eventful end to the decade. A lot has over the past 10 years and I welcome the 2020's with a sense of optimism and hope for the future. Bursting with many adventurous artistic collaborations, making art which creates change and has greater impact in society. I am also putting it out there to take my work overseas for more audiences to experience in the next few years.
My main highlights of this year have been creating Asian Women & Cars: Road to Independence installation and film. It was commissioned by Multistory for Blast Festival 2019 and it went on to win the Asian Media Award for Best Creative Media Award 2019. It attracted international audiences and media and I also went on BBC1 Breakfast TV, sharing the news of this project and the stories of first generation Asian women who learned to drive. A film I created with my friend and esteemed colleague Anthony Davies.
In June 2019, I joined the National Festival of Making in Blackburn for the second time to build on my work with South Asian elderly women called Aunty Ji's Making Corner. We worked with the ladies from the Award Winning Curry Club, Humraaz and Riff Howarth to bring a slice of South Asian traditions to the festival hub. It is always a delight to work with the festival and to bring local South Asian makers right into the heart of festival activity this year was fantastic.
I delivered a Keynote Speech about Empathy in the Arts to over 500 arts professionals at the annual Arts Marketing Conference this year in Gateshead. The response was phenomenal and I have since been asked to give speeches to young people in schools.
In September I was absolutely thrilled to be commissioned by Barbican to bring Jambo Cinema to Leytonstone Loves Film festival. I took over the Octagon Room at Leytonstone Library and moved my 1980s living room and myself in for the weekend and hosted approximately 500+ audiences who chatted with me about video shops and had their portraits taken by artists Ben David Jones, Chris Oxenbury and Dee Patel.
Lastly, I and several other artists were selected by Future Arts Centre's to shape 'Here and Now' - a national artistic response to the National Lottery 25th anniversary. We spent one week together at the Albany in London, sharing our diverse artistic practise and work to shape a project which was artist led. Huge thanks to Future Arts Centres for this wonderful and rare opportunity.
I finished the year by seeing some incredible work at the Venice Biennale 2019 where international artists responded to the provocation of 'May You Live In Interesting Times'.
As I think back to 10 years ago, I think about how lucky I was to be the recipient of an international opportunity to work in Brazil, at Centro Cultural Banco do Brazil SP. They were such a brilliant and hard working team and I learned lots from working there. I was fortunate to be selected, through a tough and rigorous interview process by the Cultural Leadership Programme led by Hillary Carty (now Director of Clore Leadership).
It was such an incredible opportunity for personal and professional growth and I would urge anyone to travel, work and step outside their comfort zone to really experience the colourful tapestry of life. Time will go fast, make plans and take actions to make it happen otherwise it will never happen.
And remember, someday is not a day of the week. "Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think" - Prince Buster.
GO FOR IT in 2020!