Learning: Myths and Histories

To accompany Jerwood Solo Presentations 2021, we are delighted to present a new learning resource, Myths and Histories.

Myths and Histories is a learning resource created by Emii Alrai for Passing of the Lilies commissioned for Jerwood Solo Presentations 2021. Myths and Histories is perfect for children and young people to do with their educational groups or families and carers. This resource is suitable for both educational institutions and anyone interested in extending their understanding of post-colonial museum practice through art.

Available online and as a printed copy at the Jerwood Arts reception. A member of staff will be happy to provide you with a copy of Myths and Histories, they can also guide you through the learning resource whilst at the gallery.

Emii Alrai’s Passing of the Lilies is a layered installation which positions monumental sculptural forms alongside smaller clay pieces to interrogate the idea of value and the origins of artefacts.

Through Passing of the Lilies Alrai continues her exploration of the complexities and issues of how objects from the Middle East are displayed in museums in the West, and how they gather new meanings and narratives through this. Alrai’s work is rooted in her own dual identity growing up in Scotland in an Iraqi family, leading her to navigate an understanding of displacement and cultural collisions which now informs her practice. Exploring ideas of facades and forgeries, Alrai asks audiences to consider the specific journeys, narratives and conditions that inform an object’s presence within the museum.


About the artist

Emii Alrai uses sculpture and installation to interrogate ideas of inherited nostalgia, geographical identity and post-colonial museum practices of collecting and display. Rooted in her Iraqi heritage, her work draws on museum collections, ancient writing from the Middle East and oral histories to navigate an understanding of displacement and cultural collision.

Emii was born in Blackpool and is based in Leeds. She graduated from the University of Leeds with an MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies in 2018. Alrai recently completed the Triangle Astérides Residency in Marseille. In 2020 she received the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Artist Award and was part of the Yorkshire Sculpture International Sculpture Network. She was selected for the Arab British Centre Making Marks Project in Kuwait in 2019 and the Tetley Artist Associate Programme in 2018. Recent solo exhibitions include: The High Dam, The Tetley, Leeds (2020); Tutelaries, VITRINE, London (2019); House of Teeming Cattle, Two Queens, Leicester (2019); and An Ancient Quiver, GLOAM, Sheffield (2018). Notable group and duo exhibitions include: Fallow, Rectory Projects, London (2019); The Hum, Caustic Coastal, Salford (2017); and Limbo Lambada, Hutt Collective, Nottingham (2017). In 2022 she will be exhibiting new work at Eastside Projects, Birmingham, and in a two-person exhibition with Eve Tagny at Visual Arts Centre of Clarington in Canada. emiialrai.com