Don’t stare! But take close look at Ikon’s new exhibition

Most people will have been told as children that it is rude to stare. Well, it would be rude not to look very closely at a new exhibition that has been launched at the Ikon Gallery in Brindleyplace.

Don’t Stare, which runs at the contemporary art gallery from tomorrow (Thursday 23 November) until Sunday 3 December, is a combination of photographs of artist Ashokumar D Mistry taken by other people, alongside a film by Mistry himself entitled Don’t Freak.

Together, the portraits and film are intended to explore themes of masking, societal pressures and expressing identity as a young person.

Mistry will be taking part in a discussion about the exhibition on the 23 November between 6pm and 7pm.

Don’t Stare, said to incorporate ‘generative and symmetrical portraits’ of the Leicester-based artist, is being showcased by Ikon Youth Programme (IYP), whose members took the photos in question.

Using collage, IYP collaborated with Mistry on his process of making photographic images. The resulting work is said to touch on how our perception of ourselves does not match that of others.

The photo series is accompanied by Mistry’s film Don’t Freak, which similarly conjures a type of seeing that is oppressive and unreciprocated. In the context of disability discourse, the uninvited look, or stare, almost becomes a form of violence.

The exhibition, open most days between 11am and 5pm, is free to view, but visitors are asked to make a donation.

Ikon Youth Programme navigates the waterways on board Slow Boat, a converted narrow boat which takes the form of a local art school. It is supported by Freelands Foundation, which works to broaden access to art education and the visual arts across the UK.

Mistry is described as a ‘neurodivergent multidisciplinary artist, writer, researcher, activist and curator’ who ‘challenges conventional ways of making and viewing art’.

For further information about Ikon Gallery visit: https://www.ikon-gallery.org/

All images courtesy of Ashokkumar D Mistry

ENDS

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