Launching next week: Shezad Dawood’s Visions of Paradise

Friday, 06 August 2021

‘Visions of Paradise’ is a new public artwork by artist Shezad Dawood which will be on permanent display outside The White House on the Becontree Estate from 12 August 2021. 

The work, made to mark the centenary of the Becontree Estate illuminates its surroundings through a digital animation, hosted in a sculptural display that borrows its form from ancient Neolithic standing stones, connecting a pre-industrial past with Dagenham’s present-day sense of place.

The animation is populated by historic and contemporary icons of Becontree selected in dialogue with local residents, including images of a vintage Ford Capri and the Dagenham Idol. These are overlaid on the Super 8mm footage newly shot by the artist alongside clips contributed by the community and archival film. The work is accompanied by an especially commissioned musical score by patten. 

Its title alludes to a description of Becontree Estate at the time of its construction (1921–35) as a ‘working-class paradise’ and references the estate’s visionary architecture, its hey-day of shared communal activity and the symbols that have come to define its residents’ sense of place. 

A special screening of the animation will take place at Sydney Russell School’s screening room on 15 August 2021 to accompany the Becontree Festival and will run throughout the day. It will form part of a programme of films created especially for the estate’s centenary year. 

Shezad Dawood works across film, painting and sculpture to juxtapose discrete systems of image, language, site and narrative, using the editing process as a method to explore meanings and forms between film and painting. The artist currently has work on view at the Folkestone Triennial and Concert From Bangladesh, commissioned by UBIK Productions and the Samdani Art Foundation. 

Shezad Dawood, Visions of Paradise, 2021. Super 8 with HD video, 3D animation and vintage archive transferred to HD, 16’23”. Commissioned by Create London, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The work sits within Becontree Forever: a programme of art, architecture and infrastructure to mark the centenary of the estate. Courtesy of the artist and UBIK Productions.