Kashmirwala | Journey to the Blue City
9 – 23 August 2019 open Tuesday to Sunday 12-6pm
Private View: Thursday 8 August 6-9 pm
The Muse Gallery | 269 Portobello Road | London W11 1LR
Kashmirwala’s Journey to the Blue City is a story of brotherhood in both a personal and wider sense. The photographs in this exhibition are taken from a book documenting his pilgrimage throughout Morocco in which he explores his own self-discovery and relationship with his brother.
A visit to Morocco’s ‘blue city’ of Chefchaouen introduced Kashmirwala to freestyle athletics in the streets of Casablanca. He returned to capture the spirit of calisthenics and to support the disenfranchised teenagers living alongside the country’s tourist attractions.
What started as a chance encounter back in 2014, developed into an ongoing project documenting teenage subcultures, as well as the beginning of an international non-profit movement in support of disadvantaged communities.
The show is part of an extensive programme of artist’s talks and workshops at the Muse – supplemented by introductory calisthenics sessions at the gallery, and across several London locations. Completing the circle are free classes held in Morocco. Proceeds from book sales will be used to further expand the programme.
Calisthenics dates back to ancient Greece and was practiced by the armies of Alexander the Great and the Spartans. More recent incarnations saw physical education programs for women in the 19th Century and formal gym classes in 60s America. The current wave of calisthenics is a street workout rapidly growing in popularity across the globe.
The philosophies and theories behind calisthenics are reminiscent of parkour in that they convey a sense of freedom and being alive, which in turn has a positive effect on the athlete’s mental and spiritual wellbeing. Without the need to join a gym and with minimal equipment, calisthenics appeals to young people who have outgrown the playgrounds of their childhoods and who don’t practice traditional sports.
Official figures are not yet available, but a positive effect on youth violence is undisputed as calisthenics enhances confidence and critical thinking in those affected by recognised social indicators like poverty, broken homes or lack of education.
As a former producer of hip hop videos, Kashmirwala recognises the importance of branding and adopted the slogan #JeSuisCalisthenics to promote the fitness trend across communities in Morocco. The immediate reference to #JeSuisCharlie may no longer dominate the headlines, but the core message advocating freedom of expression and empowerment is universally understood.
T-shirts bearing the slogan will be available at all participating venues.
Ibrahim Ahmed is a London-based artist of Pakistani-Mexican heritage. Adopting his great- grandfather’s name Kashmirwala, storytelling and social change are at the core of his practice. Connecting with people and cultures across the globe, his projects bring together personal quests with global concerns.
About IMA Studio
IMA Studio was set up by Samantha Huang. A former artist in residence with The Muse, the gallery provided her not only with physical studio space but with valuable insights into the dynamics of the art market. IMA passes on this knowledge through workshops and programmes for artists and creative individuals.
About The Muse
The Muse was established in 2003 as an artist-run gallery and studio. Now in its 16th year, the residency program constitutes an integral part of the gallery concept alongside community art projects, film screenings, music and live performances.
The Muse AiR program recognises the need of recent graduates when adjusting from academia to commercial reality, by not only providing exhibition and studio space but also assisting with professional development and invaluable introductions to client and industry connections. The program brings together artists from across the globe and has fostered many successful careers.
Entry to the exhibition and to all events is free of charge.
Full details of art-related events can be found here: https://www.imastudio.org/august-at-the-muse
Full details of calisthenics workshops can be found here: http://kresh.co.uk/events#slide-3
Link to high-res imagery: https://drive.google.com/open?id=16B2jttpTHTImvXRUkDLTuL5XtckdCL4M
Link to digital version of press release: https://mailchi.mp/a938dae862e8/kashmirwala-at-the-muse-2335237
The artist will be available for interview ahead of the exhibition. Please contact: Meike Brunkhorst | [email protected] | 07847 771 228