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Lata Upadhyaya is a British Indian visual artist and social commentator, who migrated to the UK in the late nineties. Her socially engaged practice focusses on heritage and culture through the impact of people and place. Her own British Asian identity and experience of migration from East to West informs and inspires others to share and represent their own experiences. Lata’s work represents the valuable contribution that immigration has made to British society, questioning the context of Britishness and what this means in relation to identity.
In her work “Johnny Foreigner” (2014), Lata engaged with diverse communities to open dialogues with individuals that had similarly experienced migration to Britain. Based upon her own experience, Lata filled clear acrylic suitcases with recreated objects and belongings that each had brought with them when they travelled. Each item symbolically packed into a suitcase, representing the motion of the journey and the indefinite significance that these continue to have on each individual. Each case representing the identity that had been left behind and the renegotiation of making sense of that, within a new culture and context - “A new place, on new soil, a new culture and a new beginning”.
This autobiographical element of her work also features strongly in “6919km: The Journey of a Rickshaw” (2016), telling the story of the journey of a cycle rickshaw from India to Essex; its state of deterioration; its reincarnation with a new cultural identity, that of Essex, its new home. Traditions in South Asia have led to each rickshaw being uniquely hand crafted and decorated, often considered as a folk art canvas, representing the landscape, nature and film stars of the region. They are a testament to personal dignity and an object of beauty. By reincarnating the rickshaw with the identity of Essex, Lata recreated her own journey of migration, whilst celebrating the life and culture of her home county, depicting its diversity and rich cultural heritage.
Lata holds two Masters in Fine Art, from MS University Baroda, India and The Slade School of Fine Art, London.
Adam is an international renowned artist whose large-scale narrative drawings and prints can be found in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, Tate, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon as well as many leading private collections including that of HRH The Prince of Wales.
Andy Merritt is one half of the duo Something & Son. They explore the social and environmental issues that define our time via everyday scenarios, criss-crossing the boundaries between the visual arts, architecture and design.
Bryony Gillard is an artist, curator and educator whos work attempts to create a space for genealogies of intersectional feminist practice that are elusive, messy and entangled in contemporary concerns.
Caryn Franklin MBE, former fashion editor and co-editor of i-D Magazine and prime-time BBC TV presenter throughout the eighties and nineties, is a multi-platform broadcaster, fashion and identity commentator and activist.
Christopher Sacre is a deaf signer and has been a visual artist and art facilitator for over 20 years. He specialises in providing creative workshops/activities that are accessible to deaf people and their families, supporting other facilitators to improve the accessibility of their provision at galleries, museums, and other creative events.
Artists Trevor Mathison and Gary Stewart form Dubmorphology a London based research, production and performance group who make experimental sound and visual installations that examine the relationship between culture, technology and creativity.
Kayo Chingonyi was born in Zambia in 1987, moving to the UK at the age of six. He is the author of two pamphlets, and a fellow of the Complete Works programme for diversity and quality in British Poetry.
Laura Blake joins our Crude Britannia discussion on climate and the estuary on Sat 22 May. She is Chair of the Thames Crossing Action Group, formed to protest against the proposed, new Lower Thames Crossing.
Lazarus Tamana is an international activist, a defender of human rights, environmental and Indigenous issuses. He is currently the President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) Nigeria