The Future is Loading

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View the Shape Open 2020: The Future is Loading exhibition, featuring the work of 25 marginalised artists! 

"2020 has been a paradigm shift for many, a year like no other. A time of raw hardship and sudden turmoil in the midst of which we have witnessed gestures of care and support capable of reminding us: we need each other. 

For many disabled and marginalised people, familiar with adversity, witnessing the world come to a halt in a matter of days has paradoxically generated hope. Hope that, for once, the world might take greater heed of what it means to be shut away, impoverished and excluded. 

For people who are marginalised in the present day, facing discrimination and barriers to access, imagining the future can be an act of radical defiance.

As the crisis has evolved and its shockwaves travelled, we find it acting as a catalyst for many other significant conversations, in the home, the workplace, or whilst, in the case of the Black Lives Matter movement, taking to the streets in an assertion of grief and outrage. In this time of reflection and learning, a plurality of realisations has occurred. With this, widespread unrest and demands for change have arisen.

More than our lives, entire structures have been thrown into the air by what we are living though, revealing the outlines of a starkly unequal world. In the process, a pandemic of health has radicalised mainstream debate, and we are no longer shying away from discussing the pre-existing pandemics of racism, of gender discrimination, barriers to inclusion and advancement, of gaping inequality, isolation, and disenfranchisement. The list goes on.

Set against this uncertain and restless backdrop, where risk of greater exclusion battles with unique opportunities for change, we at Shape are looking to the future as an act of hope.

For people who are marginalised in the present day, facing discrimination and barriers to access, imagining the future can be an act of radical defiance. It is the act of making a claim to a space that is otherwise denied ­– and for once, marginalised people have the agency to place themselves at its centre."

The Shape Open is our annual exhibition of artwork by disabled and non-disabled artists created in response to a disability-centred theme. The Open provides a space where disabled and non-disabled artists can discuss and exchange views and ideas about issues and topics which are often sidelined within artistic debate.

The Future is Loading / Shape Open 2020

Curated and creatively produced by Shape Arts 

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Welcome to The Future is Loading...

Before viewing this exhibition, you may want to read our Trigger Warnings and Access information. You can read a full exhibition blurb, too, where you will learn more about the curation of the show.

You can also view this exhibition on our Instagram.

All works in this show have been audio described. You can find these descriptions alongside each work. 

Where possible, British Sign Language support has also been embedded. 

Together with Able Zine, we are designing a zine for this exhibition which is available for pre-order. This zine includes a collaborative resources list, full of a variety of materials gathered by the curators and contributors during the production of this show. You can also purchase campaign t-shirts through PrintSocial. 

You can use this interactive list of contributors to navigate the exhibition.

Audio described artist biographies can be found on individual artist profiles on our site.

If you would like more information, please email [email protected] 

Andrew Omoding Arts Emergency Babeworld x Whinegums
Bobby Parker Brothers Sick (Ezra and Noah Benus) Charlie J. Meyers
Christopher Samuel Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley Elise Broadway
Hayden Stern Jeff Kasper Kirkwood Brothers
Laura Lulika Maral Mamaghani Panteha Abareshi
Romily Alice Walden Rudy Loewe Sasha Saben Callaghan
Sam Jevon Seren Metcalfe Tobi Adebajo
Yasmeen Thantrey

Tobi Adebajo

Tobi Adebajo is an anti-disciplinary creator whose practice draws from all the senses and relies upon meaningful collaboration to create work that centralises diasporic experiences and honours the power of identity at the same time.

Transitions 1 : Movement in Spirit (2020)

A recollection of journeys in Spirit
Leaving your presumptions & assumptions of bodies, at the door, witness embodiments in textures that pay homage to the form/less vibrations of life, pain & movements in flux. 

BSL Interpreted:

Audio description: 

Yasmeen Thantrey

Yasmeen Thantrey is a London-based artist whose practice explores cultural identity, stereotypes, and problems she has encountered growing up as a South Asian in the UK. Consciously embedding her identity and perspective into her work, Yasmeen further challenges feminist notions of body hair and diet culture through the eyes of a brown girl, using photography, print, performance, film, installations, and soft sculptures. 

Central to her practice - which is innately socio-political and, therefore, community-focused - is collaboration. Through meaningful creative exchange, Yasmeen’s work navigates both art activism and performance, acknowledging the centrality of the audience’s response and gaze to the narrative being unravelled. She aims to play and dismantle power structures through humorous loaded work that purposefully interrupts a white cube and institutional environment.

Break the Internet (2020)

Looking through the railings of a city park towards a row of terraced houses.  From the window white, sheer fabric hangs. On it is a printed figure. The figure wears an impossibly long black figure hugging dress, which stretches down past where the f

A photograph of a row of terraced houses. Looking from one side of the road to the other we notice a white, sheer piece of fabric hanging outside a window. On it is a printed figure.The figure wears an impossibly long black figure hugging dress, whicA photograph  taken from the back of a brown brick house. Looking up at a window. From the window white, sheer fabric hangs. On it is a printed figure. The figure wears an impossibly long black figure hugging dress, which stretches down past where th

Audio description: 

A print of the artist dressed as Kim Kardashian West- recreating the magazine cover that 'broke the internet'. By hanging this work from a window, it aims to disrupt the natural flow of society, and thus, demand space in a world that oppresses fat women of colour.

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We also welcome responses to our exhibition survey - we would love to know what you think!

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