Works by Sophia-Layla Afsar and Alex Billingham in ‘…as we gathered on the shards of a fallen mirror ball’. Photo: David Rowan.
Contemporary Exhibitions

Sophia-Layla Afsar, Alex Billingham
…as we gathered on the shards of a fallen mirror ball

Floor 4

Co-curated with Aziz Sohail.

In October 2022, Sophia-Layla Afsar (based in Karachi, Pakistan) and Alex Billingham (based in the West Midlands, UK) each embarked on parallel three-month residencies at Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture, Karachi (IVS) and at The New Art Gallery Walsall respectively as part of Belonging/Disbelonging. This two year project connects trans and queer artists in the UK and Pakistan, facilitating dialogue and debate across both contexts, with a focus on community, inclusivity, care and kindness. Following their first presentation …as we play beneath the warmth of an alien sun at IVS Gallery in February 2023, this exhibition continues the dialogue between the artists through newly commissioned film works, presented in a collaboratively developed immersive environment. 

Within the immersive environment, text, props and sculptural elements interplay to reflect on diverse perspectives of the trans experience, oscillating between joy, despair and grief and embracing ideas of safety, care and play. The intersectionality of the multiple identities embodied by the artists – queer, disabled and neurodiverse – collide and intermingle, helping each other survive into an uncertain future.

The Belonging/Disbelonging residences were funded by the British Council International Collaboration Grants, which are designed to support the UK and overseas organisations to collaborate on international art projects.

We are grateful to The Charles Wallace Pakistan Trust for supporting Layla’s visit to Walsall.

Exhibition preview

Thursday 25 January 2024, 6 – 8pm

Free, all welcome