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Saranjit Birdi

Birmingham
I work with a variety of art forms, often in combination, underpinned by my foundations as a dancer and architect. These range from drawing, performance and dance-based installation, painting, digital collage and animation, and public art/sculpture.

I set up a professional arts practice in 2000 after working as an architect for over fifteen years. In the last two decades recurrent themes have emerged as Series as follows

Flora Series - These are my most recent works and, as with those featured below, extend traditional drawing and painting into performance installations, animation and light projections. 'Seed Lights' Light and Sound Event  (2023-24) comprises of a series of paintings partly inspired by flora in the gardens and Herbarium Collection of Winterbourne House and Garden, University of Birmingham, UK. The paintings were originally shown in the historic house art gallery spaces in an exhibition ‘The Secret Life of Plants’ and ‘Poiesis’ (2023). The painted images were then developed into an animation to music and projected onto the outside walls of the house in an event that event that included live saxophone, poetry and interactive drawing. I am interested in how flora, human beings and digital technology integrate and sustain each other. It also gives me an opportunity to explore limitless possibilities of form and colour. As with other projects, I engaged local community groups  to contribute to the project.

Ambidextrous Drawing Series - Drawing is a major element of my arts practice. In 1997 I discovered an unusual ability to draw, accurately,  with different parts of my limbs, hands and feet. I believe this stemmed from my dexterity as a dancer and skills in drawing.  This developed into Arts In Health commissions  where I worked with people with physical impairment and complex needs in creating co-collaborative artworks my first exhibition being ‘Thisability’ in 2009. Subsequently, a major MA Thesis at Goldsmiths, London. (2015) combining Arts In Health practice with theory, looked at the continuous spectrum of ability-disability-superability. With the support of the Arts Council of England, his has grown into a drawing performance series ‘Mapping Bones’ (2017 on), collaborating with poets and musicians.

War, Conflict, Territoriality Series - In 2008 I created ‘Capture’ for my MA Fine Show (Birmingham City University), a three-dimensional painting created through throwing paint (action-painting), dance  movement and percussive sound in a 4.5m cube construction. The second work, ‘Paint Box’ featured myself and a kick-boxing / dancer throwing paint in ‘battle’ to music, again in a constructed box. This developed into the  ‘Bombed’ Series about the WW2 blitzes in Dresden, Coventry and Birmingham, featuring oral history, dance and action-painting. From this point I also began creating and producing the music alongside performing in the work to create a ‘Total Work', which featured several dancers and a constructed stage installation. The series unfolded over eleven years as:

  • 2011-‘Bombed - A Moonlight Sonata I’ - Coventry Blitz, installation and performance at Herbert ArtGallery and Museum, Coventry UK .  Arts Council of England and Herbert Gallery support.
  • 2019-‘Bombed - A Moonlight Sonata II’ - Dresden Blitz, installation and performance at ex- WW2 munitions factory Dresden, Germany commissioned by Societaetstheater for ‘Szen:Europa’ Festival.
  • 2021-' Bombed - Full Circle' - Birmingham Blitz, installation and live performances in  Warstone Lane Cemetery, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham UK. Host Jewellery Quarter Cemeteries Project. Arts Council of England and Herbert Gallery support.
  • 2022- ‘Bombed - A Trilogy’, culminating installation, Herbert Art Gallery. Arts Council of England and Herbert Gallery support.

Also included  in this Series is video work ‘Interrogation’ (2008)

Additionally, I have several Public Art sculptures in the West Midlands. I tutor drawing and painting to local groups and online. I teach health and well being through art and dance conditioning, as a professional fitness instructor and am an active member of the underground jazz-fusion dance scene in Birmingham and other cities. 

In 1984 I qualified as an Architect from Bristol University and have lived most of my life in in Birmingham, a city and community that has greatly influenced my arts practice and works.

Critical research includes MFA fine Art 2015, Goldsmiths University, London  and MA Fine Art  2009, MA Interior Design with Information Technology 1998 Birmingham City University .

 

Seed Lights

Exhibition - 'Secret Life of Plants' and 'Poeisis', 10th March to 3rd September 2023

Bombed - A Trilogy a combined-Arts Exhibition

THE DANCE - Series

'Bombed - Full Circle'

'What was, what will be'- drawing work for group exhibition 'Human Story' April 2019. Birmingham

'Withdrawn'- Live performance 2004

'Remembrance'- Mapping Bones 5

'Bombed- A Moonlight Sonata Part II' Dresden, Germany

Exhibition 'Mapping Bones 4 - They Cross Oceans'

Mapping Bones 3 - Saranjit Birdi

Mapping Bones 2- performance and drawing

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