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Selfridges has officially unveiled a new monumental public art commission by multi-disciplinary artist Osman Yousefzada at its Birmingham store. The iconic building, famous for its bulbous blue shape and large silver disks is now covered by the world’s largest canvas showcasing Yousefzada’s black and pink patterned design.

Artist Osman Yousefzada

This new art installation, c0-commissioned with Ikon, Birmingham, entitled ‘Infinity Pattern 1’, has dramatically changed the Birmingham skyline as it stretches over 10,000sq. metres (nearly 50 metres in height and 250 metres in length, weighing an ample 5 tons).

A radical new landmark for the city, Infinity Pattern 1 addresses the issues of race, flavour, and migration, which have shaped Birmingham’s past and present, but it also carries a deep sense of optimism, connectivity, and hope. For Osman, who is Birmingham-born, and the son of Pakastani-Afghan migrants, the work contains some autobiographical elements, but at its core it stages the concept of a world without boarders, whether physical or imaginary, represented by the endlessly tessellating pattern. This major public artwork – part of Selfridges’ long-established commitment to supporting creativity in the cities its stores call home – will remain in its completed state until the end of the year. It will be dismantled progressively next year whilst major renovation work to the store, started last winter, comes to an end just ahead of the Commonwealth Games. Osman’s installation was chosen following an international competition led by Ikon, Birmingham, the highly esteemed art gallery.

The commission is complemented by an in-store art exhibition, shops and art trail all co-designed and co-curated with Ikon, as part of an ongoing creative relationship between the gallery and the store. The art exhibition and trail will expand the conversation around some of the topics raised by Infinity Pattern 1, through further new works by Osman, as well as pieces by Birmingham artists Hira Butt, Farwa Moledina and Maryam Wahid, to discover within Selfridges’ Birmingham store.

The work in progress

Osman’s additional output was developed through a recent residency at Birmingham’s School of Art in Fine Art Printmaking and Sculplture. The new pieces are anchored by a series of mixed-media works on paper, challenging the stereotypes of ‘The Model Migrant’ and the perception of the role of Brown Bodies in the Western world.

The exhibition shop showcases an exclusive collection including tote bags, blankets, and vegan leather accessories all featuring the distinctive Infinity Pattern 1 design. These will all feature alongside a curated selection of products celebrating the city of Birmingham. Osman Yousefzada said: ‘The work is entrenched in autoethnographic elements of migration, community formation and how they happen, ineract and settle. The work reflects my personal story and more widely my ethnic history and some of the symbolisms inherent to my culture.’

The finished installation

Selfridges Creative Director, Hannah Emslie said: ‘Selfridges is celebrating the communities of Birmingham through a unique art commission that represents both optimism and transformation. This new work by Osman Yousefzada is uplifting but also meaningful and deeply connected to the fabric and culture of the city. By changing the skuline – at a time when the city itself is changing – we hope to make the world brighter through creative expression, and the people of Birmingham even prouder of their iconic city.’

Jonathan Watkins, Ikon Director said: ‘After leading the search for an artist to work with Selfridges, it’s exciting to see the transformation of Birmingham’s skyline thanks to Osman Yousefzada’s ‘Infinity Pattern’ enveloping this iconic building with extraordinary visual impact. The work smartly conveys his ongoing preocupation with the nature of cultural identity, a basic human need for belonging and the experience of migration, and these themes will be developed further through an exciting programme of events taking place instore as a part of Ikon’s Migrant Festival in August. It couldn’t be more right for this city.’

For further information please visit: selfridges.com/osman  

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