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Waiting Room

Fiona Whitty

8th - 30th June 2007
Preview Friday 8th June 6-8pm

Four are pleased to announce the launch of Fiona Whitty's solo show, "Waiting Room". Waiting Room consists of three components: a video piece, Niger-ish which will be shown in the Four Gallery from June 8th until June 30th. Nigerian cooking demonstration, Food for Thought, which will be held in the Firestation Artist's studios on June 16th and seminar, The Tool of Conversation will be held in the Lab Gallery on June 30th. Waiting Room is made possible by Four Gallery and Fire Station Artist's Studios. It is funded by the Arts Council's Artist in the Community Scheme managed by Create, and Dublin City Council. The project has additional support from Visual Artist's Ireland and Akidwa. 

"Waiting Room" represents Ireland for many Nigerian immigrants coming to seek asylum in the country today. She asked a few Nigerian people what they do while they are waiting for they're asylum applications to be processed and they replied, "Just go out, sit down, watch what is happening, what cat and dog that is passing by, citing everything from the window, watch how the white people shout." "You are just sleeping, waking, doing nothing and you feel rejected in the environment you are in." She decided to create an exhibition called Waiting Room to further explore issues of immigration and the asylum process in Ireland.  

The exhibition will compose of a live Nigerian cooking demonstration, "Food for Thought", accompanied by Nigerian music and performance from band, Ife Olu, held in the Fire Station Artist's Studios, a seminar,  "The Tool of Conversation", which will take place in the Lab on, involving artists, asylum seekers and stakeholder organisations and a video piece, "Nigerish", which will be shown in Four. The film is shot in a documentary style. It consists of an interview with Nigerian man, Femi, which is a follow up from and incorporates an interview I conducted with him last year. The film tells the story of how Femi's life has been going since he received Humanitarian Leave to remain status in Ireland. It will examine the asylum process on a more personal, individual level. They are separate components but are linked together by a common thread, dialogue. Since the largest ethnic group of asylum seekers in Ireland are Nigerian, I wanted to bring focus to that particular part of Africa instead of trying to cover a whole continent. The participants involved in the project will be active collaborators and participants in the project. The conversations, bonds and exchanges made in each component of "Waiting Room" will define the form, content and evaluation of the work. By extending the boundaries of art practice, operating at the intersection of art and cultural issues will add process, inform, challenge and contribute to the project in different ways. 

Her work is socially interactive. Her role is researcher, instigator, organiser and editor, involving layers of process and collaborations. She has been working with a group of Nigerian people living at a reception centre in Dublin who are seeking asylum in Ireland. "I am interested in studying the notion of migration for a better standard of living, African culture and traditions, and how they are left behind and often lost in migrant communities far from home. I am also interested in how immigrants have adapted to their new circumstances- the culture and traditions of Ireland and the effects of living in the highly controlled and regulated environment of the hostel."  

"My work does not set out to judge, classify, teach, cure, improve or even change anything in the lives of these people. Rather, it opens up a space in which private, unidentified worlds can be researched, rethought and represented in a public space." 

Supported by Visual Artists Ireland

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