Close up detail of brightly coloured tapestry

Benaiah Matheson’s Town Island: a new project for the 2024 Venice Biennale

Journal 25 Jan 2024

The Tetley is working with artist Benaiah Matheson on Town Island, a new project inspired by migration and belonging. The project leads up to the artist’s presentation as part of the Grenada Pavilion at the 2024 Venice Biennale.

A tapestry on a wall next to shelves of thread
An installation view of Matheson's open studio at The Tetley in 2022. Photo: Jules Lister

About the artist

Previously a Tetley’s Associate Artist, Matheson (b.1985) is a visual artist based in Huddersfield. His multi-disciplinary work includes textiles, fashion, movement and painting, all through a collaborative and socially engaged practice.

Students working on making colourful flags leave them to dry outside
Students participate in a workshop with Matheson as part of his residency in Grenada
Workshop materials including charcoal and inks
The Tetley's Exhibitions & Artist Development Curator worked on the residency and shared her pictures with us

Part one: Workshops and exhibitions in Grenada

In January 2024, The Tetley’s Exhibitions & Artist Development Curator Georgia Taylor Aguilar worked with Matheson in Grenada on a residency at Art House 473.

Bridging cultures across borders and generations, Matheson hosted workshops in Grenada with students at TA Marryshow Community College.

Together, they created a series of flags and the resulting artworks were presented in an exhibition at Art House 473.

The residency and exhibition was supported by The Tetley through the British Council’s Biennials Connect Grant

A student leans over a large pink and purple patterned flag
A student and their pink and purple flag
A series of bright flags lay on the floor outside
These colourful artworks will form part of Matheson's final presentation at the 2024 Venice Biennale

Part two: Workshops in Huddersfield

Later, the diaspora in Huddersfield will create more flags, drawing on gestures and movements and weaving together references to their stories, hopes and dreams.

Part three: Venice Biennale presentation

The artist’s presentation as part of the Grenada Pavilion at the 2024 Venice Biennale includes two pieces subtitled ‘Movements’ that respond to the 120 flags painted by the participants in Huddersfield and Grenada.

Part four: Huddersfield exhibition

Finally, the work from Biennale will be presented in Huddersfield in an exhibition that brings together the collaborative project.

Town Island has been commissioned by Grenada Arts Council for the Venice Biennale and is supported by The Tetley with the British Council, Art House 473, Kirklees Council, Windrush 75th Anniversary and Leeds Playhouse