Belonging/Disbelonging residencies: Alex Billingham

The New Art Gallery Walsall and Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVS), Karachi in collaboration with curator Aziz Sohail are delighted to announce the selected artists who will be in residence in Walsall and Karachi from 3 October 2022 – 8 January 2023. We are delighted to be working in Walsall, with Alex Billingham and in Karachi, with Sophia-Layla Afsar.

We are delighted to be hosting Alex, a trans fem disabled artist who was born in the Black Country and trained at Cumbria Institute of the Arts before returning to the Midlands. Alex focuses on live art and its intersection with experimental theatre and film. She has performed nationally at Tate St Ives; }performancespace{, Folkestone; Little Wolf Parade, Nottingham; Camden People’s Theatre, London; Fierce Festival, Birmingham; Word of Warning, Manchester; Edited Arts, London; SHOUT, Birmingham; The Swan Theatre, Worcester; Midlands Art Centre, Birmingham; Birmingham Hippodrome and Eastside Projects, Birmingham.

She notes that “survival underpins my work” and that it is important for them to “find better ways for us all to survive into the future”.  In their work, they explore how genderqueer, trans and disabled identities collide and intermingle. Alex is “intrigued by the points where nuclear technology and our fear of it meet, with a particular fascination with the fetishization of nuclear dread in western media”.  Currently they are interested in “revisiting how we connect with it through a queer perspective while nurturing an obsession with outdated hopes for the future.” They “enjoy an analogue approach to manipulating digital technology that allows me to realise a low-fi visual style, binding grime with glitter to make beautifully dirty work. “

Alex proposes to make work which is a celebration of the joy of being trans/queer. She will create film works based on performance using costumes, sets and props. The outcome will be fun and accessible, while acknowledging the privilege of UK legal protection and the pain that shadows queer existence. She is interested in the idea of transuranic elements which are synthetic, unstable and decaying but are also fantastic elements that enrich and save our lives.  She regards this as a fabulous trans allegory!