Banner image: still from 'Whatever, Pedant' (2020) by Ker Wallwork, image courtesy of artist. Image description: A still from a moving image artwork. Centre-frame sits what appears to be a pumpkin, or some type of gourd, but instead of the expected colour, the vegetable is lilac-toned. The opacity of this colour is varied around the object's circumference. It is as though the purple layer has been affixed to the vegetable, appearing - in texture - almost like ice, made of tiny, almost sharp fragments. It sits on a pale, rectangular object and is cushioned on either side by darker items, out of focus. Along the bottom of the frame, captions read: "The Home Office building on Horseferry Road."

We recently launched a new project called Emergent, delivered in partnership with BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead. The programme offers an early-career disabled artist a three-month hybrid residency as well as a £5,000 bursary. In addition, Shape and BALTIC are providing a package of support to a small cohort of shortlisted artists. Today, we're ecstatic to announce Ker Wallwork as the Emergent recipient and kick off our creative collaboration...

The applications

We launched the Emergent open call back in June and received an astonishing number and range of applications - 91 in total. It made the selection process - a collaboration between Shape and BALTIC's creative programme teams - incredibly challenging, but in equal measure rewarding for the light it shone on what early-career disabled creatives want and what barriers they are coming up against. 

This is the project's pilot year, so we're approaching our planning with open minds and flexibility to ensure we can adapt to meet the needs of artists we're supporting. We hope to take all of these learnings into future years of the residency and that we will be just as fortunate to receive applications from so many talented artists. 

Ker Wallwork

This year, we are awarding the Emergent residency and bursary to Ker Wallwork

Ker Wallwork (they/them) is a London-based artist with a multi-disciplinary practice spanning moving-image, drawing, text and sculpture. Recurrent themes in their work are language, queerness, sickness and the welfare state. They have worked with writers, scientists, academics and actors to develop work that explores materiality in relation to specific social and historic contexts.

Ker has previously exhibited in the annual Shape Open exhibition.

Ker will take part in the residency online and at BALTIC, where, in addition to receiving support and mentoring to inform their practice, they will use the facilities and have curatorial and technical input to extend their current research and develop new work. A showcasing or broadcast opportunity will also be provided as part of the programme.

Still from moving image work showing a half-lit concrete wall with the outline of a colourful face painted on it.

Still from 'Contact,' 2020, by Ker Wallwork

The shortlisted artists 

We're pleased to be in a position from which both organisations can provide a tailored package of support to a small cohort of five shortlisted artists. We will be working closely with them over the coming months to develop their practice and tackle specific barriers. You're likely to catch them on our social media channels as well! Introducing...

Kaiya Waerea

Kaiya Waerea (she/her) is a chronically ill writer, publisher and design educator from Aotearoa, now based in London. She is interested in crip feminist methodologies, science fiction, and bodies of water. She is one third of design trio Access Power Visibility, and one half of Sticky Fingers Publishing.

Kasra Jalilipour

Katayoun Jalilipour (they/them) is an Iranian-born multidisciplinary artist, performer and writer based in the UK. Through humour, provocation and storytelling, their practice uses the body as the subject to talk about race, gender identity and sexuality. They work in a variety of mediums including moving image, installation, drawing, text and live performance. They use speculative histories and fictions to re-tell stories through a queer lens, and they have an ongoing body of research looking for fragments of queerness hidden in Iran’s Qajar era.

Grace Fairley

Grace Fairley (she/her) is an illustrator/animator based in Belfast, she has a passion for everything weird, wonderful, and colourful! She is one half of Lemon Juice, part of Pollen studios and co-founded ARTSFEST.

Day Eve M Komet

Day Eve M Komet (they/them) is an artist, writer, poet, performer, designer as well as an experimental space maker from London that now resides in liminal space. Their current energy consists in expanding their brainchild An intergalactic universe, which jumps and explores rabbit holes into other dimensions. They create worlds within worlds and use a variety of personas to engage with the absurd reality of human life and the multiplicity of being. Dreams are as sincere as reality so they place surrealism, colour and fervour as vital tools for the worlds they shape and imagine.

Abigail Jacqueline Jones

Abigail Jacqueline Jones (she/her) defines herself as a live artist, theatre-maker, and storyteller. Her practice dismantles cultures of racism and sexism amongst British elites, criticises the enduring appeal of imperial nostalgia to the British collective psyche, and dissects the social and environmental marginalisation of the disabled as well as those whose bodies transgress gendered norms. Taking her audience on journeys through social histories, injustices, acts of activism and insubordination, Abigail utilises live readings, immersive performances, workshops, walking tours, DIY publications, and site-specific interventions.

Ker's residency will take place across three months this autumn. Stay tuned to catch the behind-the-scenes content and find out what Ker is working on!

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