Commissioned by Studio Voltaire in partnership with Imperial Health Charity 2022
Assisted by Charan Singh, Natalie Mitchell, and Laura Hartford For this new commission, Gupta spent a year working in residence at two London hospitals. Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust’s Adult HIV Clinic at St. Mary’s Hospital provides specialist outpatient services to people living with HIV. The Genital Reconstruction Surgery service at Charing Cross Hospital provides the majority of male to female reassignment surgery in England. Recruited via an open invitation, nurses, doctors and patients were invited to collaborate and spend time with Gupta. Necessarily, many of these dialogues took place via Zoom, while Gupta met others in their own familiar and community spaces; a church yard, the high street, parks, rivers, bars or grocery stores.
The resulting series of large–scale photographic works presents moving portrayals of his collaborators’ lives, their experiences of receiving care and the relationships and transformations that occur in the process. Accompanying texts—some fictional, some personal—explore family, community, stigma and the lived realities of individuals who access these vital services. With tenderness and insight, Songs of Deliverance will explore how public health systems shape private modes of belonging.
This project is a collaboration between Studio Voltaire and Imperial Health Charity and has received additional funding from Arts Council England. Songs of Deliverance forms part of Desperate Living, an ongoing programme supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation that brings artists, public organisations and informal groups together to test out new and experimental forms of collaborative programming, knowledge sharing and production, explored through the lens of LGBTQIA+ healthcare.
About Studio Voltaire Studio Voltaire is one of the UK’s leading not–for–profit arts organisations. Their pioneering public programmes of exhibitions, participation projects, live events and offsite commissions have gained an international reputation. Studio Voltaire has an outstanding track record of supporting artists at a pivotal stage in their careers, championing emerging and under-represented artists and placing a great emphasis on risk–taking and experimentation. Many commissions are an artist’s first solo exhibition in London or the UK. Exhibiting artists have included Phyllida Barlow, Monster Chetwynd, Anne Collier, Nicole Eisenman, Sharon Hayes, Jamian Juliano–Villani, Sanya Kantarovsky, Ella Kruglyanskaya, The Neo Naturists, Henrik Olesen, Paulina Olowska, Elizabeth Price, Charlotte Prodger, Jo Spence and Cathy Wilkes. Studio Voltaire commissions a wide range of participatory activities and projects working in collaboration with artists, local organisations, schools and community groups. Projects take place in the gallery as well as off–site. Studio Voltaire provides a much–needed resource of affordable and accessible onsite artists’ studios supporting the development of a diverse range of individual and collective practices, from recent graduates to internationally recognised practitioners. Studio Voltaire is a registered charity and part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio. About Imperial Health Charity Imperial Health Charity helps hospitals do more through grants, arts, volunteering and fundraising. Working in partnership with the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, we fund major redevelopments, research and medical equipment at five London hospitals – Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St Mary’s and the Western Eye – as well as helping patients and their families at times of extreme financial difficulty. Supporting the arts in healthcare, we manage an Arts Council accredited hospital art collection and run an arts engagement programme for patients and NHS staff. We also manage volunteering across all five hospitals, adding value to the work of staff and helping to improve the hospital experience for patients. Fundraising through major appeals and community events enables us to continue our essential work. Imperial Health Charity’s long-established artist residency programme examines the connection between health and wellbeing and the arts, supporting better health for everyone through creativity and innovation. imperialcharity.org.uk