Henna Nadeem

A Picture Book of Britain

Henna Nadeem works with found images of the landscape, using pictures that evoke strong western pictorial traditions. She then uses pattern templates derived from a variety of non-western sources as a basis for grafting images together into delicately interwoven collages. The mesmerising results of this process present a perceptual challenge as two visual traditions collide.

Photoworks have commissioned Nadeem to produce new work using photographs sourced from a series of highly popular books published between 1937 and 1975 by Country Life Magazine entitled The Picture Books of Britain.

These books, lavishly illustrated with landscape photographs, can be seen as part of a wider concern in the 1920s and 30s with surveying the nation in search of its essential character, particularly strong as the possibility of war loomed.

In these collages, Nadeem has pushed her work to new extremes, to powerful hallucinatory effect. This blend of childlike innocence and knowing subversion gives the artist’s work its critical tension and this series its particular poignancy.

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