Remi Rana-Allen has been commissioned by Phoenix Art Space and Exeter Phoenix for her upcoming solo touring show Swan Song – sing her to me. Remi’s practice is underpinned by extensive research. Found documents and visual materials are used to piece together a history and narrative based on factual evidence. This forms the foundation for her artworks, which are realised as sculptures, collages and film.

This exhibition follows two years of intensive research and trips to Kenya to uncover the facts behind the story of her Great Aunt – the first Indian woman to be sentenced to be hanged in British colonial Kenya 1949. A series of immersive sculptural installations, made from materials related to the women’s ‘work’ her great aunt conducted whilst in prison, are presented alongside soundscapes based on original audio recordings of Gurdwara prayers and South Asian female performers. A new film for the exhibition includes original footage shot in Kenya and the UK, interspersed with evocative family archive material, builds a rich tapestry of imagery, sound and text.

Swan Song – sing her to me addresses issues of gender, race, female violence, colonialism, migration and patriarchy, and invites audiences through this exhibition  to explore the narratives that connect various communities.

About Remi
Remi investigates the construction of British Indian female identity and ‘the maternal’, as informed by her personal experience. This is specified by being a British-born Indian woman whose body maps her identity, its perception and reception by appearance. Remi is of Indian heritage and is culturally British, not English. Remi’s practice employs paintings, digital prints, film, and object-based installations and processes that represent intimacy, transformation, time and touch. Through postcolonial and feminist theory, her contemporary art practice aims to represent the complexities of race, gender inequalities, sexuality, migration and cultural assimilation. The importance of her practice and research is highlighted by ‘the slow dilution of my cultural heritage as it seeps further from my grasp.’ (Rana Allen 2018).

Open in the Main Gallery from 13 July – 22 September.
Join us for the opening on Friday 12 July, 6pm – 8pm. Free, everyone welcome