Benjamin Sebastian: Holding The Shadow While Calling Back The Light

‘The Seemingly Innocent Are Not Without Danger’ (detail) - calico, cotton thread, silver gelatin photographic print, reconstructed nylon flag - W:26 x H:18cm - 2024

‘Taut’ (detail) - calico, cotton thread, inkjet print on calico, reconstructed nylon flag, tin eyelets - W:35 x H:20cm - 2024

Benjamin Sebastian: Holding The Shadow While Calling Back The Light

12th of September – 19th of October 2024 – Hebert Read Gallery

RSVP to the launch event on the 12th of September, 6-9pm

This timely exhibition of works by artist Benjamin Sebastian (b. 1980, Cairns, Australia. Lives and works in London, UK) is their largest solo presentation in the UK to date, consisting predominantly of new digital collage and textile works, soft sculpture and installation, as well as performance art documentation & relics. Holding The Shadow While Calling Back The Lighttraces Sebastians’ development as a collage, assemblage, installation & performance artist, sculptor and craftsperson - while foregrounding their current engagement with decoloniality; unpacking their settler heritages, neurodiversity and nonbinary identity.

Sebastian’s oeuvre has often been described as; “...a constellation of mirrors; reflecting aspects of the body, times, spaces & relationships I (have) inhabit(ed) – or – as world-making experiments, manifested through intuitive, erotic and esoteric methodologies." Through such ‘constellation of mirrors’, Sebastian engages viewers in a multifocal examination of coloniality - acknowledging their position within historic colonizing processes (settler heritage) while also holding space for their position as a colonized subject (neurodivergent and nonbinary) - enacting a kind of mirror switch, whereby their personal histories and embodied experiences, become a collective platform, enabling wider social reflection regarding each individual’s position within systems of power, domination, liberation and resilience.

Holding The Shadow While Calling Back The Light is not intended to make sense, yet rather, as a process of sense-making - where hybrid identities, iconoclastic gestures, patchwork (visual) languages and amorphously gendered entities diffuse settled narratives - opening up spaces of unknowing, encouraging moments of contemplation, critical reflection and visioning in relation to the interconnected complexities of our contemporary, social and political landscapes.

About Benjamin Sebastian:

Benjamin Sebastian (1980 AUS/UK) is a trans-disciplinary visual artist and curator living in London (UK). Their work spans performance, sculpture, curation, video, text, installation, drawing & new media - rooted in processes of bricolage, assemblage, collage, ritual & DIY cultural production. Through harmonizing nonbinary perspectives, neurodivergent cognition and decolonial practice, Sebastian weaves nascent narratives into existence, offering alternative ways of remembering, being here-and-now, and charting pathways to futures yet formed.

They hold a BA Fine Art HONS (1st Class) from the University of Lincoln and MA Curating Art and Public Programmes through Whitechapel Gallery. Sebastian’s continued research interests include; artificial/synthetic intelligence, occult practices, queer ecologies, decolonialism, transhumanism, contemporary performance & visual art. Sebastian is a founding director of both ]performance s p a c e [ and VSSL Studio and their affiliated projects have received funding from Arts Council England, the British Council, Greater London Authority, Creative Folkestone, Kent County Council, Inspire Lewisham, Roger De Haan Charitable Trust and Live Art U.K. as well as other charities and local authorities.

Some of their most recent activities include: performance of ‘Holding The Shadow While Calling Back The Light’ as part of Pretty Doomed at Ugly Duck (2023), exhibition of ‘Benjamin Sebastian + Alicia Radage’ at VSSL Studio (2023) curating ‘FACET at VSSL Studio (2023), guest curating the ‘Intersect series at the Live Art Development Agency (2023), speaking on the symposium; ‘Art, Memory & Place’ at Turner Contemporary (2022), as well as performance of their live installation ‘3 Reflections²’ as part of FUTURERITUAL at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London (2022).
Instagram: @benjaminsebastian

Notes to Editors:
  • Benjamin Sebastian: Holding The Shadow While Calling Back The Light - is a touring exhibition, launching 12th of  September – 11th of October 2024 at Herbert Read Gallery, Canterbury.
  • Followed by runs at CT20, Folkestone (1st of  November – 29th of November 2024) and Gallery 1853, Oldham (4th of  April – 2nd of March 2025) with further exhibition runs to be announced in early 2025.
  • Benjamin Sebastian: Holding The Shadow While Calling Back The Light is made possible with National Lottery Project Grants funding from Arts Council England.
  • Additional high-resolution images and information are available upon request

Listing Information (Herbert Read Gallery):
  • Benjamin Sebastian: Holding The Shadow While Calling Back The Light
  • Dates: 12th of September – 19th of October 2024
  • Private View: Thursday 12th September, 5-9pm
  • Opening times: Wednesday - Friday: 10am - 5pm & Saturday: 11am - 4pm
  • Location: Herbert Read Gallery (UCA Canterbury, New Dover Road, Canterbury, Kent. CT1 3AN)
  • Admission: Free

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