Asten Holmes-Elliott ARTICLE 16

Asten Holmes-Elliot, ARTICLE 16, Kodak Super 8mm film, 2021. Courtesy the artist

John Hansard Gallery is pleased to present ARTICLE 16 by Asten Holmes Elliot, an engaging new film work that will animate the streets of Southampton at night.

ARTICLE 16 takes its name from the 16th article of the Declaration of Human Rights. This was a milestone document drafted by delegates with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, and proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948.

The declaration advocates that, “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution” and furthermore “…is entitled to protection by society and the State”.

With the Declaration of Human Rights at its heart, ARTICLE 16 looks to challenge the traditional conceptions of what a family is, seeking to examine how identity and otherness intersect to constrain our tacit understanding of what a family ‘looks’ like.

The project was developed after Holmes-Elliott revisited their late father’s collection of 8mm home movies and was struck by the aesthetic of the material and its affiliation with western cultural memory of tradition, race, family values and heteronormativity, which is the belief that heterosexuality is the preferred or normal mode of sexual orientation.

By using 8mm film, ARTICLE 16 celebrates the non-traditional family unit. Over recent months, Holmes-Elliott invited three queer and non-traditional households to capture their own typical family moments on 8mm film. These recordings were hand developed by the artist and edited to form three new film works.

Located at three points around the city, ARTICLE 16 will be exhibited via projection onto Guildhall Square from John Hansard Gallery, and onto Northam Road from Alfred Arcade, as well as screened at Solent University’s The Spark on East Park Terrace.

ARTICLE 16 was made in partnership with a space arts, John Hansard Gallery and Solent University. The project was made possible thanks to public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Asten Holmes-Elliot is an artist and filmmaker whose work examines ideas of identity, otherness and belonging. They use a variety of mediums including illustration, painting, photography and filmmaking to research, archive and historicise fringe communities and resist their erasure and exclusion. Most recently, Asten has been looking at the use of artistic practice as a tool for speculative futures, with a particular focus on sustainable living and community building.

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