“Radical Acts: Why Craft Matters” An intervention by Mac Collins at Harewood House (2022) | Side Gallery

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"Radical Acts: Why Craft Matters" An intervention by Mac Collins at Harewood House

"Radical Acts: Why Craft Matters" An intervention by Mac Collins at Harewood House

26TH MAR – 29TH AUG 2022

Nottingham-based designer Mac Collins took part in the second edition of the Harewood Biennial 2022 (26 March - 29 August). For the 2022 Biennial, the show was titled Radical Acts: Why Craft Matters, and aimed to explore how craft can impact social change and address political issues. Collins works shown were, A Radical Act of Respect: Open Code and Thaneray (Tenroy), two pieces that perfectly characterise his capacity to transmit complex ideas and consciousness effects through craft.

With Open Code, Collins designed a dominoes game set for the Cinnamon Drawing Room, of the stately home. A table and four stools in black-stained oak with a lacquered finish, topped by a set of cast aluminum dominoes. The game has strong roots in Jamaican culture and was intended to confront the heritage of the house and the legacy of slavery. Edwin Lascelles amassed his fortune in the 18th century through the sugar and transatlantic slave trade in the West Indies, an income which funded the construction of Harewood House. The dominoes game - still widely played by the Jamaican community in Nottingham - was perfectly staged as the protaganist of the games room, where the family who profited from the explotation of the slaves, used to retire after dinner.

As a designer with dual heritage (half-Jamaican and half-English), Mac Collins wanted to bring a positive Black narrative to the palace-like room. Even if that space was once not-accessible to everyone, the installation publicly acknowledged that both worlds were intertwined since the beginning.

In the Ante Room, another celebrated piece of Mac Collins was shown - a pink version of the afrofuturist Iklwa chair. This piece which first brought Collins into the spotlight, invited visitors to contemplate the concept. Place in front of the window, its aim in the exhibition was to motivate consciousness by reflecting on one’s own environment and the legacy of what surrounds us.

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