Through the Bamboo Wall by Saif Osmani
Photographs, Paintings and Testimonies
25th November – 16th December 2011
Showing at Winterbourne House, Coach House Gallery
By documenting the material exchanges that take place in everyday transitory spaces, we connect with those actions which have been taken place over centuries. The treatment of bamboo has paralleled the changes in human development; it has been carved, woven, joined, has shifting in form, increasing in mass and in recent times deceased in our collective psyche.
Through constant re-abbreviation bamboo has gained meaning, produced cultural symbolism and also retained its position as a silent signifier to the past whilst giving rise to a possibility of a future.
London- based visual artist and spatial designer, Saif Osmani presents his research on Taiwan’s regional response to bamboo whilst connecting the gallery space with the site-specific of Winterbourne House & Garden.
The artist recently returned from a residency in Taiwan (as part of Bamboo Curtain Studio’s Emerging Artist’s Programme), where he interviewed practitioners and recorded the places where he found bamboo within Taipei City, Chaiyi and Nantou.
In his search for lost crafts, untold narratives and missing linkages he began to formulate a language of Taiwan’s own material condition and how the inhabitants connect with their own urban sphere.
This exhibition includes over 100 photographs of markets scenes, religious rituals, street life, the region’s architecture and natural landscapes.
Inspired by Taiwanese native artistic forms, Saif has produced paintings from personal stories from his grandparents time in Bangladesh.
Oral testimonies are also presented alongside the photographs for cross-cultural reference and to contextualise the pictures.
Earlier this year Saif invited artists, architects, designers, photographers and oral historians to explore the cultural associations of bamboo from around the world. This came to form ‘Baasher Ghor’ (‘Bamboo House’ in Bengali), an information exchange and a platform for practitioners who primarily work with the material.
One of the artists he connected with, Birmingham-based artist Maria Zerguine, tells the story of growing up living in a bamboo house in the Phillippines with her grandmother which is a personal heart-warming and powerful untold story.
‘Through the Bamboo Wall’ is showing from 25th November- 16th December 2011 at The Coach House Gallery, Winterbourne House & Garden, University of Birmingham, 58 Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham, B15 2RT
Opening times: Daily 10am – 4pm