Principal Boy

a-n member Maz Murray, an artist filmmaker based between London and Basildon, presents their first solo exhibition, which takes the form of an immersive installation, including sets, props and moving image.

Examining ‘the theatricality of fabricated spaces, from stage sets to new towns, theme parks to club nights, shopping centres to would-be utopias’, the work also reflects on oral histories of storytelling and pop culture as living archive.

A particular focus of the exhibition is the figure of the ‘Principal boy’ in pantomime, a role historically played by a woman in drag. Murray’s work often repurposes and subverts existing cultural tropes, which when treated with the artist’s satirical, surreal, melodramatic and humorous approach, addresses queer and trans identity, class, and the complexities of public life.

27 March – 15 June 2024, Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea

Maz Murray, Thigh Rise, film still, 2024. Starring Alexis Meshida and Prinx Silver, shot by Rosie Taylor.

Memory Stone

Artist and a-n member Nikta Mohammadi presents newly commissioned work first developed through an a-n bursary awarded in 2023.

Mohammadi, who is originally from Tehran, Iran and now lives and works in West Yorkshire, worked with a community group of Farsi-speaking refugee and asylum-seeking women in Salford in the research for Memory Stone.

Informed by their shared impressions and perspectives of the British countryside, the resulting film installation reflects Mohammadi’s ongoing interest in the ‘ghostly imprints that migrants create on foreign lands’.

Memory Stone attempts to recreate these memories and histories through an alternate version of the northern British landscape, and by combining elements of Sci-fi and Iranian mythology, reflects on migrants’ psychological and physical relationship with place.

Until 5 May 2024, The Lowry, Salford

Nikta Mohammadi, Memory Stone, film still, 2024.

Acts of Creation: On Art and Motherhood

This major touring exhibition explores the ‘joys and heartaches, mess, myths and mishaps of motherhood’ through over 100 artworks, from the feminist avant-garde to the present day. Among the 60 artists showing work are a-n members Bobby Baker, Jessa Fairbrother, Lindsey Mendick and Barbara Walker.

Examining motherhood as a lived experience, ‘Acts of Creation: On Art and Motherhood’ asserts that the artist mother is an important – if rarely visible – cultural figure.

The exhibition addresses diverse experiences of motherhood across three themes: Creation, which looks at conception, pregnancy, birth and nursing; Maintenance, which explores motherhood and caregiving in the day-to-day; and Loss, which touches on miscarriage and involuntary childlessness, as well as reproductive rights.

Until 26 May 2024, Arnolfini, Bristol, then touring nationally

Janine Antoni, 2038, 2000 © Janine Antoni; Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York

A Pocket Full of Sand

London-based a-n member Gayle Chong Kwan presents a major new commission that considers colonial histories, geology and ecological deep time, by exploring historic and contemporary connections between Mauritius and the Isle of Wight.

Connecting the artist’s research of the islands with political and physical structures of power, labour, leisure, childhood and play, ‘A Pocket Full of Sand’ comprises a multi-part installation that includes moving image, photography and sculpture.

Layers of time and geological strata are revealed through references to the coloured earth and sand in Mauritius and Alum Bay on the Isle of Wight, with moving image works depicting sand sculptures that refer to colonial architecture in Mauritius. A large-scale composite panorama gives micro and macro perspectives on deep time and contemporary treatment of immigrants, while new sculptural objects made from bagasse (a by-product of sugar production) makes further reference to colonial symbols of power.

Until 11 May 2024, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton

Gayle Chong Kwan, A Pocket Full of Sand.

Jerwood Survey III

Among the 10 early-career artists selected for this major biennial touring exhibition of newly commissioned work are a-n members Aqsa Arif and Philippa Brown.

Glasgow-based Arif works across film, installation and poetry to explore ‘identity disruption, migration and the process of healing through archetypal narratives.’ Her practice is underpinned by her mixed cultural identity as a Pakistani refugee to Scotland.

Cardiff-based Brown makes sculptural forms, installations and paintings which explore the ’ambiguous, magical and sometimes fragile interconnectedness between histories, materials, beliefs and bodies,’ to consider conformity and alternative ways of living.

6 April – 23 June 2024, Southwark Park Galleries, London, then touring nationally

Philippa Brown, Soft split the stone, 2023, installation view at g39, Cardiff © the artist.

Top image: Nikta Mohammadi, Memory Stone, film still, 2024.