As a shortlisted group for the Tate Turner Prize 2021, Cardiff-based artist collective Gentle/Radical is presenting an exhibition at The Herbert Gallery and Museum in Coventry.
Gentle/Radical’s exhibition at the 2021 Tate Turner Prize has now opened to the public. Founded in 2017, Cardiff-based Gentle/Radical is one of five groups shortlisted for this year’s prize, and for the first time in its history, the 2021 nominations are made up entirely of artist collectives. Although the Turner Prize is usually staged outside of London, this year’s exhibition is presented in Coventry as part of the UK City of Culture 2021.
Gentle/Radical is an arts organisation made up of artists, community activists, conflict resolution trainers, faith workers, youth workers, equalities practitioners, performers, writers and others. They devise cultural activities and events to encompass film screenings, grassroots symposia, performative works, talks, meals, readings, gatherings, celebrations, and other actions that bring people together.
Gentle/Radical’s exhibition explores how we relate to, and witness each other, in times of both trouble and possibility. Drawing upon video, sung elements, text-based and printed works, their presentation explores how networks of comradeship — often overlooked in working cultures that privilege outputs and results — enable us to face the turbulent present, whilst imagining other futures.
A series of filmed works offer a window onto the group’s shared and ongoing conversations, posing questions about personal and collective agency in the face of external forces: How do we raise children beyond the nuclear family? How do we hold spaces for grief and loss amidst constant demands to remain productive? How do the multiplicities of diaspora show up amongst us?
A second video work sees a group of Cardiff residents learning, and singing together, the text of a Welsh Gorsedd bardic prayer written by Iolo Morganwg in the 18th century. Set to music by Cardiff-based folk duo Bragod, the work elevates the tentative act of learning, sharing and voicing together, in place of a final or finished product.
Other elements of the exhibition include a wall-based work detailing notes from an emergent curriculum that informs Gentle/Radical’s practice; and printed work, also echoing a Gorsedd text, centring the values of knowledge, strength, protection and justice.
‘For an organisation that’s usually found delivering cultural events within community settings, hearing about our nomination for the Turner Prize came as something of a shock,’ said Rabab Ghazoul, Gentle/Radical Director. ‘But it also felt like an incredible opportunity to think about how, as a collective, we could show up in a gallery context together. What’s emerged is an exhibition that shares some of the most intimate aspects of our work together — those ongoing dialogues behind the scenes, that speak to our grappling with coloniality, diaspora, resistance, healing, justice, loss and transformation. And of course, that work all takes place within Wales, so speaking in subtle ways to the richness of who we are, where we live, and the complex identities Wales holds, has also felt essential.’
The Turner Prize exhibition will be open at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry until the 10th of January 2022. Admission is free, but booking in advance is recommended. The winner of the Tate Turner Prize 2021 will be announced on the 1st of December 2021.
The development of Gentle/Radical’s exhibition for the Turner Prize has been supported by a curatorial team to include Ben GJ Thomas, Melissa Hinkin and Rabab Ghazoul; Simon Clode and Matt Smith of Crowblack Films; and Gentle/Radical members/associates Isabel Calvete, Adeola Dewis, Roseanna Dias, Laura Drane, Rabab Ghazoul, Thomas Goddard, Samson Hart, Tony Hendrickson, Rachel Kinchin, Stephen Lingwood, Ahmad Musa, Mary-Anne Roberts O’Reilly, Divya Parikh and Anushiye Yarnell.
Gentle/Radical’s exhibition has been made possible through support from Arts Council of Wales and Welsh Government.
Header image: Gentle/Radical Riverside Photo (Credit: Michal Iwanowski)