Estabrak – Sea; the remains between
16th November 2019 – 23rd February 2020
Ferens Art Gallery, Queen Victoria Square, Carr Ln, Hull HU1 3RA
In collaboration with Invisible Dust and Ferens Art Gallery, visual artist and filmmaker Estabrak presents ‘Sea; the remains between’, the latest in the artist’s award-winning series of underwater photographs, specially commissioned for ‘Surroundings’, Invisible Dust’s three-year programme of artist commissions and events with interrelating environmental themes.
The exhibition includes photographs of individuals and groups from communities in Hull, taken in natural and human-made bodies of water in the local area. The subjects’ heads remain above the water, outside the picture frame, their identities hidden.
Estabrak invites us to look below the surface and consider each person on an individual level, to confront and reflect on important issues often silenced on land. She is particularly concerned with the social, political and environmental impact of human activity in this region defined by its industrial and maritime past, and its trade routes and ties to transmigration and the British Slave trade.
‘Sea; the remains between‘ highlights the impact of humans on our waters and is informed by current research into contamination caused by pharmaceuticals, plastics and other toxic chemicals, led by Jeanette Rotchell, Professor of Aquatic Toxicology, University of Hull. The project also considers the continuing impact of past and present political and social activity on individuals and communities.
Given the historic and ongoing systematic oppressions underlying the divisive issues we face in Britain today – such as Brexit, the Windrush scandal and environmental breakdown – conversations around identity, loss, homelands and human habits are needed now more than ever.
The exhibition, an installation of new-media and photography, is influenced by the artists global underwater photographic series ‘World Under Water‘ (WUW), which looks at varying societies’ discourses through the connecting lens of water. The first in the series, ‘Omanis Under Water‘ garnered international acclaim, winning multiple prizes including the 2016 Danny Wilson Memorial Award Curators’ Choice Prize. The second edition, ‘Brazilians Under Water‘, began in 2018 and was nominated for the VIA Arts Prize 2019. Estabrak has recently been interviewed on BBC Radio Humber and named one of ‘five incredible underwater artists’ as part of the ‘Pursuit of Beauty: Art Beneath the Waves’ podcast, BBC Radio 2018.
This work was commissioned by Invisible Dust in partnership with the Ferens Art Gallery for ‘Surroundings‘, a three-year programme of artist residencies and events focusing on environmental themes, produced by the Humber Museums Partnership and Invisible Dust. Funded by Arts Council England and the Wellcome Trust.
‘Surroundings‘ is produced by the Humber Museums Partnership (HMP), Hull, East Riding and North Lincolnshire in partnership with Invisible Dust.
Launched in 2017 – the year of Hull City of Culture – the programme includes international public art commissions with an environmental theme, a young curator’s project, residencies and exhibitions. Each year has a different but interrelating theme – Food, Migration and Landscape respectively. It is funded by Arts Council England through Ambitions for Excellence and Wellcome Trust Sustaining Excellence.
Image: See the remains between © Estabrak