University of Leicester artist-in-residence creates installation for Charles Wilson building

Posted by pt91 at Feb 02, 2017 12:40 PM |
More than 100 people collaborate with multi-media artist Kajal Nisha Patel to produce ‘Liberation’ exhibit

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 2 February 2017

Photographs of ‘Liberation’ available to download at:

University of Leicester artist in residence Kajal Nisha Patel has collaborated with more than 100 people to produce an exhibit for the University of Leicester’s Charles Wilson building and now forms part of an exhibition by the artist at the Attenborough Arts centre.

The installation entitled Liberation was created by the artist after she organised a series of workshops in storytelling and craft with community groups in Leicester during July and October 2016.

During her Leverhulme Trust residency at the University, Kajal developed her research into British South Asian women’s working and domestic lives. Her project focused on women who arrived from the Indian subcontinent during the late 1960s/70s and looked at the themes of mother, daughter relationships, identity and belonging.

Fabric sculptures of butterflies made by workshop participants and worn sandals donated by female workers from India have been combined to create the exhibit which stretches from the floor to ceiling of the foyer wall. The collaborative artwork aims to ‘reflect personal stories of migration and continuation of the working class struggle’.

Speaking about her residency Kajal said: “The project was a huge undertaking and I didn’t anticipate so many people would become involved. I am grateful to Hema Parmar whose support was invaluable. She was the lead practitioner on the workshops and we were very keen for the work to be led by members of the community. My residency has been very much about collaboration and making artwork people can understand.”

“The artwork belongs in the public domain and ideally I would want it to be accessible to as many people as possible to provoke curiosity and encourage people to question.”

The installation was housed in the University’s Charles Wilson Building through January and has since been moved to Attenborough Arts, the University’s arts centre, as part of the ‘Lightseekers’ exhibition by the artist.

As well as the support from the Leverhulme Trust, Kajal received funding for the participatory component of her residency from Leicester City Council's Community Engagement Fund.

Kajal, who set up Lightseekers creative social enterprise project, will be continuing her own creative journey with more collaborative projects during the year.

She said: “I will be organising more intergenerational workshops but this time I will be using the medium of cooking to bring British South Asian women together in a familiar environment which will encourage openness, discussion and questioning.”

She will also be developing her research into gender identity and oppression of women.

Kajal said: “I will be interpreting Indian and Western artwork with a view to showing how patriarchy has changed over time. The project will also be focusing on making the research accessible to a wider audience.”

Sam West, Visual Arts Officer at Attenborough Arts, said: “We are delighted to be hosting ‘Lightseekers’ which brings together new artwork produced by Leverhulme artist in residence Kajal Nisha Patel. She has been working closely with community groups to produce ‘Liberation’, as part of workshops hosted at Attenborough Arts Centre to produce a new colourful collaborative work featuring images and text from more than 100 individuals.”

  • Kajal Nisha Patel’s ‘Lightseekers’ takes place in Gallery 2 at Attenborough Arts until 5 February.
  • Exhibition of 'Liberation ii' at The Peepul Centre, Leicester. Launch 9 March: The work which was previously shown within the Charles Wilson building and the Attenborough Arts Centre will be displayed again at a local community centre in the Belgrave area of Leicester.
  • Sew-Off. Peepul Centre, Leicester. 9 March. 10am - 4pm: A day-long drop in workshop event, for international women's day. People can come and contribute to a combined fabric artwork.This is the venue where many of the creative workshops were held. There will be a small celebration event, towards the end of the day for all previous workshop participants and other members of the community.


Notes for editors:

For more information, contact Kajal Nisha Patel at or Sam West on

Kajal Nisha Patel is Leverhulme Artist in Residence in the Department of Sociology at the University of Leicester. Her work was informed by Dr David Bartram’s research, which investigates whether migration to a wealthy country brings greater happiness.

Kajal is the founder member of Lightseekers social enterprise, which uses photography and storytelling as a platform to learn about and engage with key social issues. It is a cross-cultural education project, which delivers workshops to low-income areas.

Learn more about Kajal’s residency at the University of Leicester at:

Find out more about Kajal’s personal work at

The Leverhulme Trust has provided grants and scholarships for research and education since 1925; today it is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK, distributing approximately £80 million a year. For more information:

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