Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture is presenting the first Brent Biennal, taking place in public spaces, libraries and streets across the Borough, from 19 September – 13 December 2020.
The programme includes 23 new commissions and projects that will be presented in locations across the Borough and features international and Brent based artists. Create’s curatorial team have worked with artists Pio Abad and Dawn Mellor to realise two new murals.
Leading British-Filipino artist Pio Abad will create a large-scale mural on Kilburn High Road that depicts personal, significant and idiosyncratic objects/ephemera collected from residents that live in the area. Kilburn’s rich history of migration as well as, today, being home to people from a number of countries including, Ireland, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Turkey will inform the work.
Pio Abad’s practice is concerned with the social and political signification of things. Deeply informed by the modern history of the Philippines, where the artist was born and raised, Abad’s work, which ranges from drawing, textile, sculpture and photography, uses strategies of appropriation to mine alternative or repressed historical events, unravel official accounts and draw out threads of complicity between incidents, ideologies and people. Often appropriating symbols of power and evoking a sense of excess, the artist brings together multiple layers of histories and present-day realities to render visible his critique and his solidarity with those who stand against injustice.
British artist Dawn Mellor has been commissioned to create their first permanent public artwork: a large-scale mural in Kingsbury, Brent, celebrating the life of George Michael, who lived and went to school in the area. Co-commissioned by Studio Voltaire, Brent Borough of Culture 2020 and Create London, Mellor will create a nine-metre high artwork, which will be unveiled in September in Kingsbury. A programme of free activities and learning programmes will take place with the local schools George Michael attended, as well as talks, walks and workshops.
For the past twenty years, Mellor has painted portraits of celebrities, drawing on imagery collected from photographic portraits, gossip magazines, film stills and the internet. Their works are often commemorative and personal, while celebrating a long tradition of camp as a tool of resistance within queer culture. The artist explores identity, class, politics and pop culture and Mellor’s protagonists have previously included Judy Garland, Helen Mirren and Karl Lagerfeld. The artist transforms their subjects via iconoclastic interventions which reflect the darkly obsessive facets of fan culture and fame; and the many roles assigned to celebrities.