by Osman Yousefzada
Osman Yousefzada is a Birmingham-born interdisciplinary artist and writer. His practice revolves around modes of storytelling, merging autobiography with fiction and ritual.
With deep consideration of life after death and the process of grief, Embodiments of Memory offers a healing space for contemplation, memorial and ritual. Speaking to the universality of mortality, a series of sculptural works take visitors on a journey through birth, life, death and thereafter.
The clay cob mound considers the systems of faith that articulate themselves around death, departure, other worlds and reincarnation. Symbolising both a burial mound and an extruding stomach, the sculpture is articulated with spires guiding the eye to a collection of ceramic bundles evocative of personal belongings and memories.
Connecting us through clay, humble brick architectural forms symbolise the spaces in which we exist together and apart. Both monuments highlight the gendered roles associated with funeral practices across cultures. Reflecting on his Muslim heritage, Osman recreates an Eastern grave liner first shown at the Lahore Biennale, along with a mosque minbar pulpit, offering viewers a new space to engage with prayer, mourning and healing.
The rich legacy of weaves and textiles in Osman’s own Pakistani-Afghani heritage is expressed using fabrics throughout this installation. In a wall-based piece, Osman intimately reconnects to and celebrates his mother’s ritualised practice of embroidery. Including umbilical cord-like lengths of thread enmeshed with thick braided rope, Osman makes a symbolic appeal to giving life and the entanglement of cultures.
Embodiments of Memory is in The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, ST1 3DW, which is open Wed-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 11am-4pm. The biennial runs from 23 September – 5 November.
There is free parking at the Tesco Hanley Extra car park for up to three hours.
This exhibition has been generously sponsored by Ibstock Brick Ltd, and supported by David Finney, Gabriella Rhodes and Emma Price.