Harewood Biennial: at Harewood House from 28 June to 20 October

Harewood House Trust presents Harewood Biennial 2024: Create/Elevate – the power of craft knowledge to bring people together.

Harewood Biennial 2024 celebrates craft and elevates artisanal heritage connecting across generations and continents. Create/Elevate presents significant and large scale works from 16 international contemporary artists, designers and craft collectives throughout Harewood House and Gardens.

Four major new works have also been commissioned from artists Mani Kambo, Arabeschi di Latte, Kusheda Mensa and Lucia Pizzani. This is the third edition of the Harewood Biennial, presented by Harewood House Trust in Yorkshire.

Jakup Ferri

Create/Elevate explores the potency of craft through three interwoven themes. ‘New Narratives‘ highlights works that interrogate Harewood’s collections and history. Local and global ecologies are foregrounded in ‘The Use of Land‘, and the convivial effects of sharing food and knowledge are explored in ‘Nourish‘.

Craft is rooted in the art and heritage of Harewood House and the selection of narrative-rich contemporary objects will open histories and inform and inspire new stories within the house and gardens. These works, embedded throughout the house and landscape, encourage new ways to engage with the environment of a historic house; actively, playfully and multi-sensorially. 

Create/Elevate foregrounds how artists and designers working with craft self-organise to effect societal change and promote social equity. Craft is shared as a continuum, collaboration and cross-generational knowledge exchange that is generous, and the foundation of most things we know, use and value. 

Four new Commissions for Harewood Biennial 2024: Create/Elevate

Inspired by histories of communal dining and socialising, London-based design studio Arabeschi di Latte‘s new work Social Kitchen rethinks the function of food related objects in the Harewood collection. Working with Leeds-based ceramicist Jo Woffinden, her installation explores the traditions of sharing dishes by creating a series of objects designed to enhance the experience of conviviality.

Mani Kambo, Layered Legacies, 2024. Hand block printed wallpaper. Image courtesy of the artist. 

Mani Kambo is a multidisciplinary artist based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne interested in objects, routines and rituals distilled both from the everyday and mythology. Her handcrafted hand block wallpaper installation Layered Legacies focuses on the human essence within each mark and pattern, responding to the untold stories of the craftspeople and designers behind Harewood’s historic decorative interiors. More than mere decoration, the wallpaper is conceived as a portal mapping craft artistry through the ages.

British-born Ghanaian designer Kusheda Mensah’s furniture installation Onipa ye de acts as an alternative library within Harewood House. Her work creates a space for the transfer of new knowledge, enabling diverse communities to come together to allow us to imagine sweeter futures. The installation references a proverb from the Akan language that translates as ‘being human is sweet’ and means that no one lives in isolation.

London-based Venezuelan artist Lucia Pizzani is working with Harewood’s head gardener Trevor Nicholson for a new sculptural commission Cultivo y Memoria (Crop and Memory). Installed in the Walled Vegetable Garden, it is made from ceramic sculptures, live plants and fallen arboreal fragments from the Harewood landscape. The work explores ideas around spirituality in the vegetal world and ancient knowledge by using ‘the three sisters’; a way of planting in the Americas where corn, beans and squash complement each other in a collaborative growth process.

Rosa Harradine’s brushes
Common Threads, detail. Photograph by Matthew Savage

 Four highlights at Harewood Biennial 2024: Create/Elevate

BEIT Collective works to elevate and preserve traditional handicrafts in Lebanon. At a time when craft knowledge and cultural heritage are at risk because of territorial conflict and climate breakdown, BEIT Collective collaborates with sculptors and designers to explore the possibilities of Lebanese artisans to craft useful and beautiful objects for everyday practicality. Working with Hamza Mekdad, their installation explores the multifunctional essence of a Corinthian-shaped heirloom from his childhood home and will be presented within the historic Dining Room at Harewood House.

Britto Arts Trust, a Dhaka-based artist collective, will present their large-scale collaborative work ‘Rasad’. The installation presents a full-scale small-town Bangladeshi street market, filled with individually handcrafted objects made from ceramic, metal, fabric, embroidery, natural spices and seeds. ‘Rasad’ explores the connections between the global food trade, the legacies of colonialism, and ongoing economic extraction and exploitation. First shown at Documenta 15 in 2022, its presentation at Harewood House will be its UK premiere.

Britto Arts Trust

Common Threads is a women’s collaborative embroidery project initiated in Karachi in 2019 by textile artist Alice Kettle and one of two co-commissions with the British Textile Biennial. It presents a series of embroideries made collaboratively by artisans from the Ra’ana Liaquat Craftsmen’s Colony (RLCC), and developed by women from the South Asian diaspora in Burnley and Bristol and now with the Shantona Women’s Group in Leeds. The panels connect depictions of shared experiences of family and the meaning of home, wherever that may be. 

Jakup Ferri, an artist from Pristina, Kosovo is adapting an installation of paintings, carpets and textiles co-created with textile artists from Albania, Kosovo, Burkina Faso and Suriname. He considers carpet-making and embroidery as techniques of ‘coherence and community building’. The Monumentality of Every Day was originally presented in the Kosovo Pavilion at the 2022 Venice Biennale and will have its UK premiere, shown in Harewood’s Spanish Library.

Rebecca Chesney ‘Conditions at Present. ’ Photograph by Matthew Savage

Further artists, designers and craft collectives include

Botanique Studios (Antigua and Barbuda), Rebecca Chesney (Preston), Emefa Cole (London), Rosa Harradine (Carmarthenshire, Wales), Jan Hendzel (London), Hew Locke (London), Temitayo Ogunbiyi (Lagos, Nigeria) and Xanthe Somers (Zimbabwe and London). (Further info on each of these creatives is located here)

Ligaya Salazer co-curator: “Create/Elevate is really about the role of craft and some of the intangible ecological and societal knowledge attached to it as something that brings people together and is passed on through generations. All the artists, designers and craft makers that are involved are interested in this in some way. Inherently, we celebrate this in the Biennial – that craft can help connect with and learn from others and also because it can be accessible, sociable and tactile.”

Darren Pih, Chief Curator and Artistic Director for Harewood House Trust: “Create/Elevate builds upon Harewood’s reputation for bringing world class arts and crafts to all our audiences across Yorkshire and beyond. It presents works created through community engagement while taking a global perspective to reflect upon Harewood’s history and our extraordinary art collections and decorative interiors. Craft is a skillful expression that can be beautiful and illuminate our current times while providing models for living, learning and thriving together. We look forward to welcoming audiences to Harewood House to explore our 2024 biennial.

Rachel Crewes, Chief Executive Officer, Harewood House Trust: “Harewood Biennial is a showcase for the trust’s vision to commission and collaborate with exceptional artists who engage with Harewood’s history in a contemporary way, provoking different perspectives and conversations. Darren Pih and Ligaya Salazar’s bold curation in Create/Elevate accentuates and highlights Harewood House and its collections giving us all an opportunity to explore the skills and knowledge of these global and visionary creatives. We are thrilled to be welcoming these inspiring creatives from locally, nationally and across the globe to share their work and ideas at Harewood House and Gardens this June for a fun and accessible summer of craft.”  

Harewood Biennial 2024: Create Elevate will be accompanied by an accessible summer programme of educational workshops and courses, as well as the Make-it-Harewood festival of craft. . 

Create/Elevate is curated by Chief Curator & Artistic Director Darren Pih with independent curator Ligaya Salazar (Crafts Council, Wellcome Trust, V&A, Design Museum and British Textile Biennial). 

Harewood Biennial 2024: Create/Elevate is at Harewood House from Friday 28 June – 20 October 2024. For more information visit harewood.org 

Main image: Rhododendrum at the Lakeside Path, Harewood House. Photograph by Simon Warner.

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