THE PEOPLE WHO CAME FROM THE SEA
20 JANUARY - 26 FEBRUARY 2022
The People Who Came From The Sea
A duo exhibition by Eliyah Mesayer and Galvin Harrison + T.N.G. (The Next Generation).
The exhibition highlights both artists’ individual practices, as well as their collaborative social projects, such as T.N.G. and the Mesayer Foundation. The exhibition provides a comprehensive view into the two artists nuanced and co-operative work to-date.
United by a shared interest in addressing systemic problems within current models of citizenship, the foundation of Mesayer and Harrison’s collaborative aesthetic is the Illiyeen Project, a conceptual nation for stateless people proposed as an alternative to the social structures that leave excluded people in a position of unique precarity.
Working within a fluid yet cohesive visual language, Galvin Harrison’s body of work is instantly recognisable in it’s expression and format. Still, as a natural consequence of Harrison’s practice his output can take many forms and his works ranges from sculptures and paintings to installations and prints. The material fluidity of Harrison’s work integrates perfectly into his collaborative practise produced under the banner of Galvin Harrison + T.N.G. (The Next Generation), which is a community-based project initiated by Harrison in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen.
Eliyah Mesayer’s practice is primarily expressed through an alchemical tradition, especially that found in the treatises of Jabir ibn Hayyan (721-815), better known as Geber – The Father of Chemistry.
Inspired by Geber’s processes for investigating and exposing the principles of its subjects, one outlet is her mesmerizing alchemical works on paper, where she creates visual interferences by combining chemical processes with light. However, Mesayer’s alchemy isn’t limited to these formats, but also extends itself into poetry, installation and performative works. Like Geber, Mesayer works as an alchemist in search of chemical reactions between different poles – placing her focus on the transformation when the two meet.
A focal point for both Mesayer and Harrison is the fictional state of Illiyeen, a state for the stateless, which both engages Mesayer’s heritage, but also seeks a form of alchemical change by artistically balancing itself on the dynamic threshold between reality and fiction as well as fact and imagination. It is the language of alchemy understood in its very broadest sense, including and inviting its audiences to become part of the alchemical reactions themselves.
Continuously seeking a positive change Mesayer has also founded The Mesayer Foundation, to which she, her collaborator Galvin Harrison and Brigade donates part of the proceeds of their art to. The Mesayer Foundation’s main objective is to provide free legal and consulting services to stateless people and help them obtain the citizenships that will afford them the rights they have been denied so far.
Galvin Harrison (b.1956) is an Irish artist who currently lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. He holds an MFA from Camberwell School of Art in London.
Artist Eliyah Mesayer (b.1987) lives and works in Copenhagen. She graduated from the Jutland Academy of Fine Arts in 2020.