Infinity Pattern 1

July 2021

Installation, Selfridges
Future Systems Building
Birmingham, UK
“Osman’s practice around public art and temporary architectural structures has evolved from his longstanding interest in the inter-relationships between meditation, memory and migration.

The works are in essence symbolic bridges connecting continuously shifting cultures and dream worlds.

Osman’s ‘infinity patterns’ suggest space without borders, even if enclosed within walls, conflating dream states with the act of migration which ruptures into human lives transformed across a globalised world.

In some of his installations, Osman foils everyday architectural features such as doors and corridors, with more imposing structures in order to conjure up scenarios that connote experiences of immigration – from spaces that turn in on themselves to thresholds as signifiers of promise. Movement through the spaces that his work articulates is analogous to geopolitical shifts across borders, as he explains: “They bridge from one world to another ... the colourful global south to the power base of the global north. The memory spaces of former identities that you hold back or carry forward, enabling you to dream and navigate your new environment.”

For Selfridges Birmingham Osman covers the entire structure with tessellated mathematical patterns in bold colours, in order to suggest the possibility of countless new identities and connectivities.”

- Jonathan Watkins - Director of Ikon Gallery

Huis-Clos (No Exit)


Installation and Sculpture
Earth Bricks, Morter
A Rich Tapestry
Lahore Biennale Foundation
Huis-Clos (No Exit), is an elevated internal structure of an Eastern grave. Raised to ground level, and intersected by a walkway opening onto an area for contemplation, the immersice work asks viewers to find new ways to engage with a traditional place of loss and mourning. Surrounded by a partition curtain, the setting offers both a sense of intimacy and disguise. THe work also opens up a previously clandestine space - in its original form the grave would exclude 50% of the population (females), who are barred from participating in its ceremonial function or being allowed to view it before it becomes an earth filled mound. 

A Migrant’s Room of Her Own


Installation, a series of symbols, 
Solo Show, ‘Being Somewhere Else’
Ikon Gallery, UK

“A Migrant Woman’s Room of Her Own”

an acompanying text by Katie Roiphe

In this room of her own, objects are perpetually wrapped, packed, deferred for later. The hoping, plotting, preserving for the future is an explicit feature of the space. There are mysteries tied up, covered in plastic, reverently saved. Will she never quite unpack? The mood of the voyage endures. She is always arriving.

For the migrant woman, home is a receding idea of home, home is a possible future. She is actively creating a home that will never quite come into being, that will remain a half-dream. Is there a side of the migrant woman herself that will remain wrapped, enclosed, preserved for later?

In 1928, in her dazzling meditation, A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf did not address the situation of the migrant woman. The novelist’s capacious imagination did not reach as far as the migrant woman’s life, to the violence in her home, to the daunting puzzle of a new culture. But if it had she would have written this room, invoked its achievement, its aspiration. She would have seen the importance of this limited safety, this small private place to imagine, store, work. Here the migrant woman makes dresses, touches fabric; this is her place in a home that is very definitively not safe, that offers no privacy, that places women at the bottom of every hierarchy; this is her sanctuary.

Is this space, she will work to feed the children who will go on to be fashion designers, university lecturers, government employees, entrepreneurs. For the migrant woman, her children’s lives are also her art, her supreme and wily act of invention; they will live in ways she cannot even imagine, move sleekly through spaces she can’t decipher, but that possibility, that shimmering unknown, is her creative act. To save, hoard, wrap, to send off to school each day, to protect, to fail to protect, to be baffled, to be alienated, to love.

The obstacles for the migrant woman are more extreme even than those Woolf addresses in her history of the empire, and yet the beauty of the idea applies and endures through the uprooting. The room of one’s own.

To make a home in a new world, to prepare, pack, for a future you can’t know in a place you don’t understand. This impossible home-making is the migrant woman’s task. But Woolf saw that the space to think it through, to retreat, to refresh, this modest bit of physical space of her own is essential. She saw that our material conditions define our creations, our output on earth.

Woolf writes, “When I ask you to earn money and have a room of your own I am asking you to live, in the presence of reality, an invigorating life.” This particular room of one’s own is not the tidy bourgeois room Woolf was envisioning, with its tea cosies and pleasant view onto a garden, and yet her principles cohere in it. Woolf could have been speaking to the migrant woman when she writes, “I should remind you how much depends upon you, and what an influence you can exert on the future.”

A Series of Sculptures


Sculptures for ‘A Migrant’s Room of Her Own’
Solo Show, ‘Being Somewhere Else’
Ikon Gallery, UK

Leaving Your Mark


Wool and Canvas
Solo Show ‘Being Somewhere Else’
Ikon Gallery, UK
But Mother, I can read
all that you write
on leaves in the forest,
on the waters of the sea,
and in the ledger of the sky.
Let them call me illiterate.

“Ink on my Face, Ink on my Hands”
Kazi Nazrul Islam 

Predating the invention of writing, migration is a theme that connects the diverse histories that make up the collective story of humanity.  One of the keepers of this story of migration is textiles; languages can change, religions can change, politics can change, but weaving patterns, passed on through oral and tactile traditions across borders and generations change far more slowly and are carriers of a shared history. There is Individual agency even within the most traditional fabric patterns as people use and adapt them to signal the place they want to hold in society

Extract from Essay “People not Shadows” by Diane Campbell Betancourt
for Osman Yousefzada solo show “Being Somewhere Else” Catalogue, 2018.