Thought provoking works of art to go on display at York Art Gallery this May in exhibition 'The Sea is the Limit'

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9 April 2018

Thought provoking works of art exploring the current and ongoing issues of migration, dispossession and national borders are brought together in a major new exhibition opening at York Art Gallery this May.

Eleven international artists including Nidhal Chamekh (Tunisia/France), Taus Makhacheva (Dagestan/Russia), Shahram Entekhabi (Iran/Germany), Brian Maguire (Ireland), Mohammed Sami (Iraq/UK), Vanessa Vozzo (Italy), Vladimir Miladinović (Serbia), Halil Altendere (Turkey), Varvara Shavrova (USSR/Ireland/UK), Nick Ellwood (UK) and Susan Stockwell (UK) use their work to question the meaning of nationalism, free movement, inclusion and exclusion, drawing on both the historical and contemporary narratives which shape identity and opinion.

The exhibition expresses a desire for freedom and a better life that stands in sharp contrast to the reality the migrants experience on their journeys.

The exhibition will take place in the Madsen One and Madsen Two Galleries and is included in the admission price.

Contemporary artist Varvara Shavrova, who has curated the exhibition, said:

“What makes The Sea is the Limit a unique exhibition is the fact that each participating artist has been addressing the theme of refugees and engaging with migration, immigration, dispossession and rootlessness for some years, and in some cases, for example as in the case of the renown Irish artist Brian Maguire, for some decades. Another strength of the show lies in the fact that most participating artists, including myself, are migrants.

“This sets this project apart from a more sensationalist if not exploitative approach to the currently ‘hot’ topics of ‘migrant crisis’, and instead brings the empathy to the fore of the reflections on this tragic and ongoing situation that is showing no signs of being resolved nor going away any time soon.”

The project has been organised by York Art Gallery and Varvara Shavrova in collaboration with Patrick Heide, and will feature 25 art works in a wide range of media such as audio visual objects, interactive installations, drawings, paintings, sculpture and audio and video works.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a programme of events including artists’ talks, tours of the exhibition and a round table discussion focusing on various aspects of migration, refugees, borders, and the role of contemporary art within these themes.

York Art Gallery and Varvara Shavrova would like to thank Patrick Heide Contemporary Art for their input and collaboration on this project, Kathrin Becker, Head of Video-Forum n.b.k. Berlin, the Kerlin gallery, Dublin, and the Eusgter II Belgrade Gallery, Belgrade.

Click here to visit the exhibition webpage.


Susan Stockwell
Sail Away (detail)
Paper, currency, tickets, stamps, maps, coins and thread, 2013,
Photo credit: Patrick Heide Contemporary Art

Shahram Entekhabi
My Mother – The History of Iran
Full HD, Language: English, Audio: Dolby Digital, Runtime: 78:30 min © 2015

Mohammed Sami
They stay, we left
Acrylic on linen, 2017
Photo credit: The Artist

Your Comments

  1. Kathryn Glowen (USA) |

    This looks like a wonderful show for everyone in this political environment. Everyone has the desire for freedom and we should help as much as we can, we are all human.
    Is there a catalog for the show if so how would I get one? Thanks

    1. Rachel Wade |

      Thank you for your positive feedback, Kathryn – we’re really pleased you enjoyed the exhibition.

      Unfortunately we do not have a catalogue but you’ll find related items in our shop.

      Best wishes,

      Rachel at York Museums Trust

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