The British Invasion | The British Textile Biennial 

creative producer & Curator

Commissioned by the British Textile Biennial, curator Alex Zawadzki invited three artists with colonial narratives visible in their practice to enter a dialogue with her and with each other in order to develop the parameters for a group exhibition that responded to the ‘Cotton Exchange’ in Blackburn, now a semi derelict space; it had once been ‘the stock exchange’ of one of the country’s wealthiest towns of the Industrial revolution as a consequence of weaving and cotton production. Each exchange that passed through the hands of mill owners added a new layer of colonial violence, through appropriated cultures, enslavement, false promises, stolen lands and resources.

Developed over a twelve month period of zoom calls, discussions, provocations and curatorial conversations the artists confirmed their works and installed the exhibition despite the challenges of geography, local, national and international lockdowns to deliver a headline exhibition for the Biennial.

The British Invasion is three artists articulating their inherited and lived experiences of colonisation; sharing these experiences through the lens of both the colonised and coloniser. They consider the ongoing cultural, social, identity and behavioural impacts of colonial history on the current mainstream. How objects of desire, sports and entertainment were often used as a form of distraction and subterfuge by the British, in the colonisation of foreign nations; before becoming embedded in cultures and re appropriated in music, fashion, sport and language.

Through these works and shared dialogue, Jamie Holman, Masimba Hwati and Jasleen Kaur pick away at the subtexts of colonialism through personal stories, leaving us to sit with the unresolved mess left behind.