Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Nadia Wazera (artist)

I nearly didn't go to the Musgrave Museum on Saturday because I got waylaid at Rock The Redoubt and thought the Musgrave might already be closed. However, I'm so glad I detoured as, not only did I finally have a look around the collection itself, but I also got to meet Nadia Wazera, an artist whose has work currently on show there as part of the Eastbourne Festival.

Nadia got involved with the Musgrave Museum through an art swap project with Fenya Sharkey where Fenya would create work in Nadia's town of Coventry and Nadia would reciprocate in Eastbourne. She has created six works for the Musgrave - two video installations and four assemblage pieces. This is the first time that the venue has been used for visiting artists although I understand there are plans to invite further projects through the year.

Nadia is very interested in exploring connections and way they occur between people and places, between people and objects. She has incorporated items from George Musgrave's collections into her work here, revitalising what had been overlooked and hidden away. This is particularly apparent in the first large installation which utilises a pile of dilapidated picture frames. Nadia explained that the frames have been brought up from the basement and replaced exactly as they were discovered. On the opposite wall is a desk with flat circular pebbles collected from Eastbourne beach (don't tell the Council!). Nadia encourages visitors to interact with the work by writing a word of their choice on a pebble and then throwing the pebble into the frames. Some are lost in the stack, some fall through, some words are visible, some are hidden.


The second large installation is a bookcase which was again found on site. Nadia has placed small cake-topper figurines and other items from George Musgrave's collections onto the shelves together with some of her own vintage postcards thereby adding a part of her own collection to that of George's. Some shelves are backed with clear acetate which adds reflection and an element of movement, and there are also clear circles which didn't come out in the photo so you'll have to go see for yourselves! Circles are a recurrent theme in Nadia's work and the clear discs can also be seen at the base of the hanging driftwood installation. Circles in the forms of coins, roulette wheels and gaming machines are depicted in the video work at the back of the Musgrave, perhaps a  partner to the beach walk but showing the 'other side' of Eastbourne seafront - gambling in the Pier arcades.

I spent quite a time engrossed in Nadia's video installation of her walking across Eastbourne beach and stopping to gaze out across the sea. This is a walk I have done many times myself so was interested to see it replicated in the indoor space. I forgot to ask whether it was intentional, but I love the way the handheld camera's movement gives the impression of being underwater as Nadia walks. The camera then becomes perfectly still as she stops to look at the sea so the only movement is now actually that of the waves.

Musgrave Museum, Tue-Sat, 2nd Apr to 4th May, 10:00-16:00.
Free admission, donations welcome.