Unfolding Shrines

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You’ve been surrounded by the same four walls for some time now. Outside, the structures of society are shaking. Shape Arts invites you to explore the captivating worlds of four artists; rooms of cartoon strangeness, tender tribute, and unfolding shrines. Allow these augmented realities to seep into your own as the walls around you expand. 

Contains flashing lights, vivid colours, and sound effects. QR code which, when scanned, opens a webpage from where you can download the app.

Unfolding Shrines is part of the Adam Reynolds Award programme, Shape Arts’ flagship award established in 2008 in memory of the life and work of sculptor Adam Reynolds. It is designed to support a mid-career disabled artist or artists through funding and exhibition opportunities. Jason Wilsher-Mills was the recipient of the ARA in 2020 and it is largely due to his ongoing collaboration with Hot Knife Digital Media that this group show was possible.

This exhibition features the work of artists Jason Wilsher-Mills, Sophie Helf, Rebekah Ubuntu, and Uma Breakdown, developed and designed in collaboration with Hot Knife Digital Media. The Shape Arts team are: Jeff Rowlings, Elinor Hayes, and Jane Sammut, the visual identity was designed by Mina Owen, and the access providers and creators: Ian Rattray, Hugh O’Donnell and Nikki Champagnie Harris.

With thanks to Arts Council England, Garfield Weston Foundation, Cultural Recovery Funds, and schuh for making this exhibition possible. Supported through the Mayor of London’s Culture at Risk Business Support Fund and the Creative Land Trust, we also thank the National Lottery Community Fund for their emergency COVID-19 Coronavirus Community Support Fund grant, supporting Shape artists under COVID-19 lockdown.  

The works in this show are products of the continued innovation and dedication of artists working through lockdown.

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The app is available on iOS and Android (Android Nougat 7 and above). If you are unable to download it, you can watch the full film here.

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Within a gallery-like room of vivid colours, with every surface covered by swirling designs and prints, framed artworks are mounted along the walls while before us stands a goddess-like figure with four arms - reminiscent of depictions of Kali, altho In a greyish evening New York street setting, photographs of shops, cafes and graffitied walls seem to come to life, framed by the overhead decking of the local train line. In the centre of the frame, an oversized image of graffiti reading ‘Cheat death in NYC’ attracts attention.
A digital field full of grass, with trees surrounding a large black screen. On the left of the screen grows a small plant with purple flowers, also digitally rendered. On the screen itself, text in capital letters reads “Rebekah Ubuntu.” On top of a grey and white grid, illustrated comic figures - in bright pinks and greens - sit, surrounding a box of text. The text, written in pink font, reads: “Alien rays cut through the padding of propranolol. Nerves should be soft not sharp, or at least they should be kept safe and held, like enamel holds a smooth bone around the networks in a tooth. That bit above the surface, the bit of the tooth in your mouth.”

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A hybrid artwork containing both digital and analog textures. In the foreground, pixelated-looking rectangle shapes in shades of pink and green jut down from the top and up from the bottom of the image. Behind them, a drawing of a table - on top of which sits a purple machine of some kind - is coloured in with colouring pencils. On the table there are also two green arm-less hands with long, spindly fingers. Under the table there is a purple, jagged creature. It looks as though the machine is being operated by a figure stood behind the table, though itUma Breakdown is an artist, writer, and researcher with research interests in the economies of horror and play, feminist literature, and queer role playing games (RPGs). This year, they completed a PhD about The Evil Dead, care, trans* écriture féminine, disaster, and play. 

In 2020, they presented a plant horror RPG at Kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga, Latvia; a video game about sleeping on the ground next to animals for FACT, Liverpool, UK; and a short story about SSRIs and Artaud for Ma Bibliotheque. 

They are currently researching criminality as love/writing in Jean Genet and Hélène Cixous and partaking in Net//Work Residency, facilitated by the British Council and Wysing Arts Centre. Uma is also a digital fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude as part of Johanna Hedva’s Post-Doom programme and an Adam Reynolds Award finalist (2021).