Swadhinata Trust took part in My Home, My Bari: Salon 1 – Historical Context and Ideas of Home 4th Decemder 2021 at Kobi Nazrul Center at 4.30pm

History begins at home, and as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence, acclaimed artist Rahemur Rahman is working collaboratively with a group of artists as well as young people from Tower Hamlets to represent the living spaces of the British Bangladeshi community. The final exhibition will open at the Kobi Nazrul Centre, in the heart of Brick Lane, on 26 November and run until the seminal date of 14 December, Martyred Intellectuals Day.

Three salons will accompany this dynamic and multi-sensory installation, and as well as using sight, texture and scent to recreate the ambience of a 1971 home in east London, our salons provide more scope to go beyond the abstract notions of ‘home’ and discuss in more detail the ideas behind the artwork.

Professor Alison Blunt will be joining our panellists for the first salon in order to discuss ideas of the home, focussing on the historical and geographical elements of Brick Lane and how the home can influence people and place. ‘Home’ is both a physical place and a concept. A place of birth and to bring up children (a ‘nest’), a place for life (sometime fleeting and sometimes permanent), and even death, it is often a refuge from the world at large and a space to colonise through a sense of pride, identity and ownership. We stamp a representation of ourselves on our surroundings through how we decorate, and how we display or order our belongings.

Brick Lane and its surrounding area has for decades been home to a large swathe of the British Bangladeshi community and can act as a cultural macrocosm of the individual ‘home’. The neighbourhood is safe and familiar, a community hub and a place of refuge through the visual signifiers of the shops, businesses and the myriad aromas of cooking that arise from the plethora of cafes and restaurants. This salon will explore the significant role of Brick Lane in shaping the urban landscape of multi-cultural Britain.

Professor Alison Blunt is the Professor of Geography at Queen Mary University of London, Director of the AHRC London Arts and Humanities Partnership DTP, Vice-President (Research and Higher Education) of the Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers) and founding co-director of the Centre for Studies of Home, a partnership between Queen Mary and the Museum of the Home.