To accompany the second Southend Book Festival we are delighted to be able to host this beautiful exhibition, commissioned by Photoworks, Brighton, of works by British artist Henna Nadeem. Nadeem bases her work on photographic images of the landscape. Finding her material in books and magazines, she then uses pattern templates derived from Islamic and other non-Western sources as a basis for grafting images together into delicately interwoven collages. For the images in this exhibition, Nadeem has worked with photographs originally published in a highly popular series of books, the Picture Books of Britain , produced between the 1930s and 80s by Country Life Magazine. The original books, lavishly illustrated with landscape photographs, presented a romantic and nostalgic vision of the British landscape.
Nadeem's works focus on photographs from the 1960s colour editions of the Picture Books, connecting with her own childhood memories of rural Yorkshire. Nadeem's extraordinary works playfully reinvent the British landscape from her own personal perspective. It is their blend of child-like innocence and knowing subversion that gives the artist's works their critical tension and these images their particular poignancy.