Brian Maguire in The Sea is the Limit

York Art Gallery

4 May – 2 September 2018

Brian Maguire, Apartments Aleppo, 2016, acrylic on linen, 290 x 270 cm / 114.2 x 106.3 in   

Thought provoking works of art exploring the current and ongoing issues of migration, dispossession and national borders are brought together in this major new exhibition at York Art Gallery.


Eleven international artists including Nidhal Chamekh (Tunisia/ France), Taus Makhacheva (Dagestan/Russia), Shahram Entekhabi (Iran/Germany), Brian Maguire (Ireland), Mohammed Sami (Iraq/ UK), Vanessa Vozzo (Italy), Vladimir Miladinović (Serbia), Halil Altendere (Turkey), Varvara Shavrova (USSR/ Ireland/ UK), Nick Ellwood (UK) and Susan Stockwell (UK) use their work to question the meaning of nationalism, free movement, inclusion and exclusion, drawing on both the historical and contemporary narratives which shape identity and opinion.


The exhibition expresses a desire for freedom and a better life that stands in sharp contrast to the reality the migrants experience on their journeys.


The project has been organised by York Art Gallery and contemporary artist Varvara Shavrova in collaboration with Patrick Heide, and will feature 25 artworks in a wide range of media such as audiovisual objects, interactive installations, drawings, paintings, sculpture and audio and video works.


Varvara Shavrova, who has curated the exhibition, said:

“What makes The Sea is the Limit a unique exhibition is the fact that each participating artist has been addressing the theme of refugees and engaging with migration, immigration, dispossession and rootlessness for some years, and in some cases, for example as in the case of the renown Irish artist Brian Maguire, for some decades. Another strength of the show lies in the fact that most participating artists, including myself, are migrants.


“This sets this project apart from a more sensationalist if not exploitative approach to the currently ‘hot’ topics of ‘migrant crisis’, and instead brings the empathy to the fore of the reflections on this tragic and ongoing situation that is showing no signs of being resolved nor going away any time soon.”


The exhibition will take place in the Madsen One and Madsen Two Galleries and is included in the admission price.


It will be accompanied by a programme of events including artists’ talks, tours of the exhibition and a roundtable discussion focusing on various aspects of migration, refugees, borders, and the role of contemporary art within these themes.


York Art Gallery and Varvara Shavrova would like to thank Patrick Heide Contemporary Art for their input and collaboration on this project, Kathrin Becker, Head of Video-Forum n.b.k. Berlin, the Kerlin gallery, Dublin, and the Eusgter II Belgrade Gallery, Belgrade.

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