Ella Walker, Ithell Colquhoun, Naomi Workman, Anousha Payne, Nina Royle, Francesca Blomfield, Emelia Kerr Beale, Kate Walters, Angus McCrum, Jessie Whiteley, George Ridgway, Leo Robinson, Melloney Harvey, Paloma Proudfoot, Bryony Rose, Zoe Williams, Danny Leyland, Tahnee Lonsdale, James St Findlay and Natalia González Martín
with text by Sukayna Powell
Guided by the Balneum Book, a 15th century illustrated Western manuscript outlining the folkloric healing properties of various freshwater bodies, Arusha Gallery and co curator Ella Walker are delighted to present Bathing nervous limbs for the 2021 Edinburgh Art Festival; a group exhibition bringing together new and existing work by 20 artists.
By treating this book as a teacher and healer, who proposes a set of instructions to be followed and repeated until the desired outcomes are achieved, discussions arise around learning, care, methods of doing and transformations. The exhibition seeks to reconcile these practices and invites the artists to look into the habits we adopt on a micro and macro scale, now-and throughout history in our pursuit of wellness, in the processes of self care and attempts at healing.
What ways do we rebalance and heal-alone and within our communities? This is the collusion of our sense of self: routine, visions (seeing things), drinking water that is clear and tastes of nothing, ‘nervous limbs’ and ‘soft shoulders’.
It seeks to observe the quiet habits that are culturally or socially instilled within us and ones we come to find ourselves as we live an experience which demands us to develop coping techniques. It's a peek into the bedroom, bathroom, garden, shopping trolly and the wardrobe and headspace.
How important is the end product of anything you do? How much of that process is about the active reconciliation of your past, present and future self. Looking at the performative aspect of those activities, the most grounding of rituals, the boiling of the broth, the reading, the walking, the visit to the hairdresser or dressing up in finding your-well-self again. Is the end result of all of these actions in fact in its process, and as such is reconstruction the most accessible, unifying and creative action despite its many guises?
Moving between the real and imaginary, all artists recount a deeply personal experience of being. The book proposes a set of instructions which can repeat, re-emerge and morph across the gallery in the form of installation, ceramics, performance and painting.