Remembering Jaya Graves

A year ago today, a dear friend of mine died of cancer.  She was old but not that old and youthful in spirit, her name was Jaya Graves who I will miss dearly.  Her death at the time was overshadowed by the far more devastating loss of my own son just 10 days earlier, and its taken me until now to put this all too brief post up.

I first met Jaya in the late 90’s as part of some activities supporting refugees and people seeking asylum in Manchester.  She later became involved on the management committee and then as occasional collaborator with the artists’ collective that I had founded, Virtual Migrants www.virtualmigrants.net and we used to meet at the Southern Voices office at St Peters House Church and Chaplaincy.

In 2003, while she was a member of the Manchester Museum Community Advisory Panel, I was commissioned to create a series of video works for permanent installation in the at that time new galleries being built, and one of the videos was of Jaya.  Here it is along with another two from the same series of videos.

There is more information about that project, titled Rekindle, at www.metaceptive.net/rekindle-interactive-museum-object-stories .

The more recent work on environment, climate change, race and migration was co-developed with her vital contribution, meeting at her house.  It was Jaya who suggested we call the project The Centre Cannot Hold, from the WB Yeats poem.  I valued our reflective, analytical, critical and good humoured chats enormously, as well as the ideas and knowledge she introduced me to.  We were good friends even though we only met occasionally, and I miss her.  I count her as an inspiration and influence on my work and my humanity.  May she be carrying on in the way she always did so well wherever she may be.

'Rekindle' Interactive Museum Object StoriesPS: Regarding my dear son Naseeb, mentioned earlier, I have not felt the need to put a post about him on this website since there is a memorial website dedicated to him already at www.naseebchuhan.wordpress.com .

 

Footprint Modulation’s Launch through a Lens

The Launch through a lens: Footprint Modulation’s Launch by local photographer Simone Rudolphi

Footprint Modulation had its preview and launch night on Thursday 4th June at Durham Art Gallery (DLI). The evening was not what you might typically expect from a launch for an art exhibition, starting with the relaxed and accessible manner Kooj Chuhan, the artistic-director and one of the artists exhibiting, spoke about the journey behind the exhibition and his artwork at the DLI. Kooj Chuhan’s work, titled Chamada From Chico Mendes, is an interactive piece in which visitors can play different resources like a musical instrument, ranging from bottled water to a mobile phone, to create different effects on the collage of documentary footage displayed in a mask image. Other speakers at the preview showed the range of partners involved in the exhibition, from grassroots climate change organisation Transition Durham to climate change researcher Dr Andrew Baldwin. The evening finished with moving poetry from Platform’s Sai Murray, and a beautiful impromptu song from Tracey Zengeni whose artwork will be on display at the Durham Miners’ Hall, rounding off a unique and affecting evening.