An art collaboration brought about by Maslaha and Mile End Community Project's ALL WE ARE project, created with young Muslim men from disadvantaged communities to tackle youth offending and re-offending.
Featured from left to right: Muhsin, Abdul Samad, Zakir, A.K. Rahman, Amin, Aziz, Syed Ahmed and Mo Malick
THE EXPERIMENT reconfigures and recreates Joseph Wright's An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump. Much has been made of Wright's focus on the faces of those witnessing the experiment, however it was the stricken bird and it's allegorical significance that most interested the collaborators.
The issues of survival, captivity, and an uncertain fate were central to this interpretation of Wright's work, as was the symbolism of air and aspiration, in both its meanings. The recreated work takes visual cues from the original painting, however the bird is absent, replaced by a central figure taking a photo of himself, thus the figures in the photograph are themselves 'The Experiment'. As with the bird at the heart of Wright's experiment, the witnesses to this work are left to ponder the possibilities of resurrection, release or suffocation for these young men.
Hannah Habibi, Victoria Burgher and Jacqueline Nicholls
1. (of a commitment or undertaking) not honored or fulfilled
2. not tidy or cared for
Exhibited as part of the 2012 Urban Dialogues exhibition in London, the idea for this collaboration sprang from a discussion about identity – how we all fit or don’t fitinto society’s tickbox groups – and a subsequent visit to the Cross Bones Graveyard, London.
A pair ofrusting iron gates in Redcross Way, London, mark the entrance to this post-medievalunconsecrated burial ground where London’s prostitutes (known historically as the district's “WinchesterGeese”), paupers and other “undesirables” were buried. Overgrown with ivy, and now adorned with ribbons, flowers,feathers, jewellery and other tokens – and with a bronze plaque bearing the epitaph “R.I.P. TheOutcast Dead” – Cross Bones has become a living memorial to the lost and marginalized ofsociety.