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Exhibition revisits Stephen Lawrence case
Tahera Aziz in front of one of her video installations for (re)locate
Tahera Aziz in front of one of her video installations for (re)locate

The tragic, racist murder of black student, Stephen Lawrence in 1993 shocked the nation.

The case is still poignantly relevant, and has become a reference point for similar cases.

The subsequent public inquiry into the police handling of the case forms the nucleus of an audio-visual installation by artist, Tahera Aziz.

[re]locate is also the first exhibition
at a new inner city contemporary art space created by East Street Arts.

Union 105 is a new development by ESA, as they look to create an environment that will enable people to meet face to face and engage directly with art by attending contemporary exhibitions and contributing through creative debate.

They hope the gallery will help as they engage with new communities in Yorkshire and ultimately lead to the re-animation of life on Chapeltown Road, showing how art can transform, inspire and encourage.

[re]locate revisits an ordinarily public 'place' that retains the traces of a deeply significant event; it is concerned with the processes involved in struggling to preserve the memory of that event whilst offering new insights.

[re]locate stages a sonic reconstruction focusing on the bus stop on Well Hall Road in Eltham, South London where Stephen Lawrence was fatally injured following an unprovoked racially motivated attack by a gang of white youths.

Artist Tahera Aziz uses transcripts from the inquiry report to build up a picture of what happened on that fateful night, and exploits audio storytelling to encourage the audience to generate their own mental images of the events.

Aziz challenges the audience by putting them into the position of three witnesses who were standing at the bus stop on the night of April 22 1993 and who, according to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, boarded a bus shortly after the attack. Aziz poses the question - what would the audience do if faced with the same predicament.

[re]locate has been four years in the making and is an artistic response to a horrific event and the public inquiry that followed it.

"The agonising story of Stephen Lawrence touched the lives of a generation with the inquiry marking a turning point in Britain's approach to race relations, highlighting issues relating to policing and the Black and minority ethnic communities."

"Young people may not have directly heard of Stephen Lawrence but they'll be able to make immediate connections with the issues raised by the artwork," said London-based artist Aziz.

Tahera Aziz has had a longstanding creative and political interest in identity, migration and racism. She teaches in Arts and Media at London South Bank University.

She believes it's fitting to have [re]locate as the first installation to mark the opening of Union 105, as Chapeltown has found itself labelled as an area of Leeds notorious for social upheaval over the last few decades.

[re]locate opens at Union 105, 105 Chapeltown Road, Chapeltown on Monday 23 November and runs until Friday 4 December 2009. The gallery is open Monday - Friday, 12 - 5pm. Admission is free.

The legacy of Stephen Lawrence
22 Apr 08 |  UK


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