Osman Yousefzada behind the scenes at Where It Began, Cartwright Hall Art Gallery (Credit: Bradford 2025 UK City of Culture)

Where: Cartwright Hall Art Gallery
When: 3 May – 13 October 2024

Osman Yousefzada takes a deeply personal look at migration, identity and community in Where It Began, a special exhibition that forms part of this year’s countdown to Bradford 2025 UK City of Culture.

In this solo exhibition, Where it Began, artist Osman Yousefzada invites viewers to contemplate themes of labour, social class, immigration and the impact of colonialism on human bodies.

The title itself serves as a metaphor that spans different timelines: from historical relationships between the British Empire and South Asia regarding textiles to Yousefzada’s father arriving in Bradford during the wave of Commonwealth migration in the 1960s to labour at Crofts Engineering foundry to concepts of belonging, identity and homemaking.

Where It Began presents work both inside and outside Bradford Council’s Cartwright Hall Art Gallery.

The main hall itself will showcase the artists’ handcrafted textiles, sculptures and newly wrapped artworks. Continuing his dialogue with site-specific objects, the artist will wrap the various busts and statues at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery including a marble bust of Queen Victoria and the statue ‘Humanity Overcoming War’ (1925).

(Credit: Bradford 2025 UK City of Culture)

Outside in Lister Park, Yousefzada is giving the statue of Diana the Huntress a new cultural life, where migrant and diasporic threads are woven into a tribute to the female.

What Is Seen and What Is Not, along with new works and outdoor commissions created specifically for Bradford. Where It Began is the first of several events presented by Bradford leading up to its year as the UK City of Culture in 2025.

For the duration of Yousefzada’s show, Street Space will work alongside local residents through a series of creative conversations, workshops and sessions to explore the intricate dynamics of social engagement within Cartwright Hall and Lister Park.

Osman Yousefzada said “To be in Bradford is to be at a second home. Where my father arrived as an immigrant to find a New Life. To recount these forgotten tales across generations of change, upheaval, struggle and resilience is an honour.

‘Where it Began’ is a celebration of this city enabling me to share narratives that unite us and through the power of storytelling we create more understanding and hopeful futures.”

Where It Began is presented in partnership between Bradford District Museums and Galleries and Bradford 2025 UK City of Culture. For more details about Bradford 2025, please visit bradford2025.co.uk.