Gunnersbury Park Museum today announces the debut of Jigsaw Heritage – an exhibition curated by West London artist Jaixia Blue in celebration of the national commemoration and observance of the 75th anniversary of the arrival of passengers on the Empire Windrush to the UK. The exhibition will open on 22 June 2023 and be available to visitors until 22 December 2023.
On 22 June 2023, the live event will feature immersive activities for guests centred around the storytelling of the Windrush generation. Guests will have the opportunity to have bespoke portraits taken by acclaimed, London-based documentary photographer – FilmAbdi, against the artist’s large-scale textile backdrop, drawing inspiration from the postcards and portraits that Caribbean migrants sent to loved ones back home.
With live performances from emerging Black artists including Jaixia Blue (singer-songwriter, textile artist); NWAKKE (DJ, sound artist, dancer); True Steel Band (steelpan musicians) and Indira Toussaint (poet) and catering courtesy of London-based, Caribbean fusion restaurant Cocos, the event will showcase a host of contemporary talent whilst giving the public an intimate and official introduction to the work and inspirations of the artist.
Jaixia was the recipient of Near Neighbours’ 2023 Windrush Day Grant Scheme, and was awarded a grant of £5,000 for her Jigsaw Heritage proposal and has since utilised to fund her exhibition and its opening event.
The exhibition draws heavily upon the experiences of the artist’s grandmother who travelled to the UK from Jamaica towards the close of the Windrush era. Jigsaw Heritage is a collection of printed textiles (screen printed & digital) which tell the story of Jaixia’s dual British and Caribbean heritage, as well as the unique life experience of her grandmother. The project examines Jamaica through her grandmother’s now fractured lens, and journey to the UK.
‘Celebrating the 75th anniversary of Windrush feels like the perfect time to debut a project that looks to honour all of those rich and fascinating histories. I’m incredibly excited to be supported by Gunnersbury Park and Museum to spotlight a generation and a community that is still full of mystery where it concerns how they came to be. Jigsaw Heritage is a textile art collection that celebrates a courageous journey undertaken by windrush passengers, and an unique intermingling of culture between two islands. Jigsaw puzzle pieces are a running motif throughout the collection; emblematic of piecing together stories of heritage’.
When discussing what informs her unique perspective, Jaixia shares that she is conducting interviews with women with personal connections to Windrush, citing that ‘they share never before told stories of their mothers who came to the UK as part of the Windrush generation’ and that she is collating her discoveries into a short film which is set to preview at the opening of Jigsaw Heritage.
The exhibition will see a 6-month run at the museum with the opening event to take place on Thursday 22 June 2023.
For more details, visit: https://www.visitgunnersbury.org/whats-on/special-events/windrush-day-jigsaw-heritage-live/
About the artist
Jaixia Blue is a storyteller across multiple mediums, ranging from music and poetry to textile art. Born in West London, she recently completed her BA (Hons) degree in Textile Design and Business Studies (specialising in Screen Printing) at the University of Brighton.‘Jigsaw Heritage’ is a self funded, deeply personal project, which formed her final graduate collection.
As a singer-songwriter, Jaixia has been known to move and affect with the softest of vocals. Her alternative style of delicate, neo-soul folk, is made all the more impactful by her poetic & honest writing style. Influenced by the likes of Joni Mitchell, Susan Cadogan and Barbara Mason, Jaixia was encouraged from an early age to pursue her creative passions: from music and literature to textile art. Since penning her first song, ‘No Quitter’ at age 12, the artist has continued to take her mothers advice in flipping the narrative; channelling her emotion through creation.