The Great British Art Debate is always searching for artists who are working in and around Britishness and art, nationality and identity. With this in mind, we were delighted to be introduced to artists Sayed Hasan and IAMKSO, two contemporary artists behind the work My Granddad’s Car, currently on display at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 exhibition space.
My Granddad’s Car is the story of two friends who chose to explore their histories, cultural heritages and identities through the experience of trying to bring their granddad’s cars together in the country of their birth. As part of the project Sayed Hasan and IAMKSO have each travelled thousands of miles to Pakistan and Nigeria, in an unpredictable journey aiming to bring the cars side by side.
For Sayed Hasan his granddads car was a memory of visits to family in Pakistan as a child. ‘Through the car we come to understand the idiosyncrasies of each other, the roads we drove along and the car’. A car that now in adulthood has become a symbol for contemplating the complexity of belonging to multiple places and cultures.
‘As I grew older I reflected on the dividing lines between Pakistan and England, they felt detached, but both were part of me… As the only member of my dad’s family to be born outside of Pakistan, there are clear differences; language, culture, too many to mention, but through my time getting to know my family we have grown close…I had a fanciful thought, that one day I could bring the car to England, when it had retired from service. After mentioning my idea to my family I was heartened to hear that they understood that the car had come to symbolize more than the sum of its parts.’
My Granddad’s Car invites viewers to embark on a journey inspired by physical objects that documents two attempts to reconcile ancestral pasts with present contemporary lives. The result is a work that acknowledges the variety of relationships people have with places, objects and others that reside in places outside of their immediate lives.
For Sayed Hasan and IAMKSO, both British born artists with mixed backgrounds, identity is constantly changing and should move freely without constraint, as we form relationships in an increasingly hybridised social and cultural world.
My Granddad’s Car hopes to strike a cord with its audience and invite people to reflect upon their lives as well as think about places, people and objects that are meaningful to them. The exhibition at Terminal 5, Heathrow will remain until 26th April. The project will then tour the UK.
To find out more about this project, watch a short documentary of Sayed Hasan or IAMKSO’s journey or find out where the work will tour next, please visit My Granddad’s Car.