Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
Mapping Norfolk, a new exhibition of work by artist Kabir Hussain, opens in the Link at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia (UEA), Norwich on 1 July and runs until 31 August.
The exhibition has been inspired by the Norfolk landscape, from the salt marshes of north Norfolk to the Broads and the flatlands of the Fens. At the centre of the show are large works in bronze that form a ‘sculptural map of Norfolk’.
Photography, sculpture and drawing by the artist will also be on display. The exhibition is curated by Atsuko Kikuchi, Curatorial Fellow in Cultural Diversity at the Sainsbury Centre.
“The Norfolk landscape expresses its energy in an embracing way, an impression reinforced by Norfolk’s big sky. It has a subtle and confident character”
– Kabir Hussain.
Kabir Hussain was born in Punjab, Pakistan, in 1960. At the age of 7 he emigrated to England with his family and grew up in Yorkshire. His fascination with the landscape stems from his memories of the terrain he saw from the aeroplane on this journey. His experiences of landscape have been diverse, from the altiplano of Peru to the craggy terrain of Eritrea through to the Thar Desert of India. These have informed his sculptural practice.
Having lived in Kings Lynn since 2001, Hussain feels now is the time to explore the countryside he calls home. He explains that “Wanderlust takes you to faraway places. The buzz of a new and alien environment can be enthralling. Over time you become more appreciative of your immediate surroundings, as I have of Norfolk after living here for 7 years. I feel a familiarity with it and have an attachment to it that I wish to build upon. When I first visited the county in 1995, I was struck by its expansive nature. Now I feel is the time to adopt it for formal study”.
In preparation for the exhibition, Kabir Hussain has embarked on a number of journeys on land, by sea and from the air. He began in Kings Lynn where he took a fresh look at some of the routes that have become familiar to him over the years. From there he moved down the coast to explore the mud flats of Snettisham and the expansive views seen from locations which include Ten Mile Bank, Salthouse Church and Sheringham. Hussain then went inland visiting Thetford Forest and the Norfolk Broads.
Research to inform the exhibition has been carried out on a wide range of topics by Kabir Hussain and the curator, Atsuko Kikuchi. Literature and archival materials have been studied and interviews conducted with local residents and experts on topics from history and archaeology to wildlife. Norfolk organisations that have contributed to the research include Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the Norfolk Coast Partnership, Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service, Norfolk Heritage Centre and the School of Environmental Science at UEA.
Kabir Hussain is a master bronze founder, with over 17 years of experience. His new works that form a ‘sculptural map of Norfolk’ have been cast at the AB Fine Art Foundry in London. Hussain uses a combination of bronze, wax and paper to form delicate textures and shapes giving them the immediacy and intimacy of a watercolour. Displayed with the bronzes will be sculpture, drawings and photographs by the artist.
“We hope the exhibition will inspire people with a sense of community, encourage lively debate about our local environment and give people a fresh perspective on the Norfolk landscape”
– Atsuko Kikuchi.
Accompanying the exhibition will be a new website – www.mappingnorfolk.com – which will feature work by the artist and interviews with local residents and experts. People will also have chance to take part in an online mapping project to create a map of Norfolk with their videos and photographs. For information about events accompanying Mapping Norfolk visit www.scva.org.uk or telephone 01603 593199.