Come As You Really Are

Hetain Patel

The Hobby Cave at Grants, Croydon
SOON 18 July 2024 - 20 October 2024
Visitor informationTickets

Come As You Really Are

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“There is a vulnerability in sharing something so personal, which often happens in private spaces around the responsibilities of daily life. But there is also a tremendous power in sharing collectively, which is at the heart of this project. I hope people join us in this celebration of the unstoppable nature of self-expression that is demonstrated by our hobbies.” - Hetain Patel

Come As You Really Are features thousands of objects created, modified or collected by hobbyists across the UK, shown alongside a new artist film. Each hobby represents a decision to commit valuable time to living life on one's own terms in a society dominated by consumerism.

The project began with a nationwide call-out inviting members of the public to share the activity to which they dedicate their spare time. Standing shoulder to shoulder with handmade submissions by hobbyists are new and existing works by Patel. The Other Suit, 2015, is a Spiderman suit crafted at the kitchen table over months, following tutorials on YouTube. It is presented along with Fiesta Transformer, 2013, a robot sculpture built from Patel's first car with the help of his father in the family garage in Bolton. Somerset Road, 2024, a Ford Escort tufted by the artist in the pattern of his grandmother’s living room carpet, has been created for the exhibition. These time-consuming handmade objects directly echo the manual labour often carried out by migrant communities such as Patel’s family, while their hybridity points towards the new possibilities that emerge when we challenge and defy convention.

Come As You Really Are presents a variety of hobbies that showcase an individual's freedom of expression and ingenuity, and in doing so broadens our perception of who gets to be called creative and where the impulse to create stems from. At the heart of this project is a nationwide community of people whose labours of love are a lens through which the artist presents an alternative portrait of the UK.

Book your free visit here.

Grants, Croydon

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The exhibition launches in London in July 2024 at Grants, a Grade-II listed, former department store in Croydon once famed for its tailoring.

This building was opened in 1895 and was once home to a store run by William and Richard Grant with over 60 departments including fashion and bespoke tailoring, hairdressing salons, china and glass, hardware, several restaurants and outside catering.

Croydon was the location of the first major international airport in the United Kingdom and Grants was visited by many overseas customers to attend regular fashion shows and buy goods from the store.

The Grant family sold the store in 1983, before it finally closed in 1987. The exterior of the building was restored in 2000 including the repair of stained-glass windows. The building still shows details of the goods that Grants would sell including "haberdashery" and "silks". The interior of the building has changed use over the decades, while the façade still portrays the building’s connection to handmade textile items.

The exhibition continues across the UK from February 2025 onwards.


Image courtesy of Croydon Archives

Public Programme: August 3

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Miniature Pottery Making: Live Demonstration with Wode Ceramics

SOON Saturday 03 August 2024

Join us for an engaging artist talk on mini pottery with Wode Ceramics. This event features a live demonstration and an insightful discussion about the art of wheel throwing small and tiny wares with porcelain on the "Wheelie" – a small, portable, and powerful pottery wheel designed by Wode Ceramics. Learn about the work of Wode Ceramics to make pottery more accessible to people around the world.

Location

Katharine St, Croydon CR9 1ET

The Croydon Clocktower is a 2-minute walk from Come As You Really Are at the Hobby Cave, Grants, and is fully accessible. Find out more here. 


Quilling Making Workshop with Jane Jenkins

SOON Saturday 03 August 2024
Talk

Quilling is the art of Paper Filigree where paper strips are rolled, looped, twisted, curled and otherwise manipulated to create decoration for cards, boxes, eggs, plaques, and to make models, jewellery, miniatures, etc. At this workshop learn the basic techniques seen on antiques and used as the basis of most modern quilling, which is more varied and advanced than ever before. Make up to three delightful little quilled greetings cards while learning techniques in their simplest forms. Paper strips, PVA glue and blank greetings cards will be provided.

Location

Katharine St, Croydon CR9 1ET

The Croydon Clocktower is a 2-minute walk from Come As You Really Are at the Hobby Cave, Grants, and is fully accessible. Find out more here. 


Public Programme: August 10 drop-in events

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Make a Superhero Mask with Happythought

SOON Saturday 10 August 2024

Come along and make your own Superhero mask! Snip, colour and stick your own unique mask in this fun and creative workshop from Happythought. This is a free drop-in session and no booking is required.

Materials will be provided. This workshop is for children aged 5+. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Location

Katharine St, Croydon CR9 1ET

The Croydon Clocktower is a 2-minute walk from Come As You Really Are at the Hobby Cave, Grants, and is fully accessible. Find out more here. 


Make a Paper Puppet with Bee Daws

SOON Saturday 10 August 2024

Bee Daws is a fabulous puppeteer and puppet maker and will be hosting an event to make paper puppets. Come along to make your own puppet! 

This is a free drop-in session and no booking is required.

Materials will be provided. This workshop is for children aged 5+. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Location

Katharine St, Croydon CR9 1ET

The Croydon Clocktower is a 2-minute walk from Come As You Really Are at the Hobby Cave, Grants, and is fully accessible. Find out more here. 


Public Programme - August 10 ticketed events

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Paint a Space Marine with Naser Rasool

SOON Saturday 10 August 2024

Join Comic book and Warhammer enthusiast Naser Rasool for an afternoon of Warhammer painting.

Materials will be provided. This event is for individuals aged 16+.

Location

Katharine St, Croydon CR9 1ET

The Croydon Clocktower is a 2-minute walk from Come As You Really Are at the Hobby Cave, Grants, and is fully accessible. Find out more here. 


Inclusive Cosplay Workshop with Cosplay duo Sparkie and Ceres

SOON Saturday 10 August 2024

Join Cosplayers Mariam Rashid and Tabatha Barton for an introduction on diversity in cosplay followed by a pattern drafting workshop for adapting cosplay costumes to all types of bodies. Materials will be provided. 

This event is for individuals aged 16+. 

Location

Katharine St, Croydon CR9 1ET

The Croydon Clocktower is a 2-minute walk from Come As You Really Are at the Hobby Cave, Grants, and is fully accessible. Find out more here. 


About Hetain Patel

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“Hobbies to me feel like a mini protest against the powers that control our time and tell us what to do and who to be."

Hetain Patel is a London-based artist and filmmaker, whose work challenges reductive categorisations of identity and art. Often rooted in personal experience, and that of his immigrant family, Patel’s work invites us to see identity as multi-dimensional and complex, linked as much to what we choose to do, as to that which is assigned by birth, heritage, social norms, and conventions.

Hetain Patel

His films, sculptures, live performances, paintings and photographs have been shown worldwide in galleries, theatres and on iconic public screens at sites including Piccadilly Circus, London, and Times Square, New York. His works have been presented at the Venice Biennale, Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing, and in London at Tate Modern and Sadler’s Wells.

Patel's work uses choreography, text and popular culture to explore identity and freedom, appearing in multiple formats and media to reach the widest possible audience. His online video and performance work, which includes his 2013 TED talk of titled, ‘Who Am I? Think Again’, has been watched over 50 million times.

Patel is represented by Chatterjee & Lal, Mumbai, and is a supported artist at Copperfield, London, a Patron of QUAD, Derby, and a trustee of the Liverpool Biennial. He is the winner of the Film London Jarman Award, 2019, and Kino Der Kunst Festival’s Best International Film 2020, and was selected for British Art Show 9, 2021/22. In 2021 Patel received a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Artist Award, a Henry Moore Foundation Award, declined a British Empire Medal and was a judge on the Sky Arts television series, Landmark.

Patel's works are in public and private collections in the UK and internationally, including Tate, British Council, Arts Council England, Government Art Collection, Manchester Art Gallery, M+ Museum Hong Kong, KNMA New Delhi, and Fondazione In Between Art Film, Rome.

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Image: (above) Portrait of Hetain Patel, photography by Oliver Parker. (left) Hetain Patel, Fiesta Transformer under construction, 2013, film still.

Partners

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Come As You Really Are is a shape-shifting project that brings together a nationwide network of arts and culture organisations. Following the inaugural exhibition in Croydon, the project will be presented with our partners across the UK from Spring 2025 onwards:

February - April 2025
Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea

March – June 2025
Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool

March – July 2025
Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland

April - May 2025
Museum of Making, Derby Museums Trust

May - August 2025
Barnsley Civic

July 2025
National Festival of Making (with exhibition partner Blackburn Museum, dates TBC) 

July – September 2025
Wolverhampton Art Gallery

October 2025
Centre for Contemporary Art Derry~Londonderry

November 2025
Tate St Ives, Cornwall

December 2025 – January 2026
Inverness Museum and Gallery

January - February 2026
Factory International, Manchester

Dates TBC
Hospitalfield, Arbroath

For a chance to participate in an upcoming presentation, share details of your hobby here.

Press

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As well as a creative exercise, Patel sees [the exhibition] as a form of protest, of pushback against forces of authority and control. – Alexander Morrison, The Art Newspaper, 24 January 2024

[The project] will celebrate the millions of people across the UK who dedicate their spare time to activities they are passionate about. It will highlight how individuals express their identity, character and creativity through their favourite pastimes. – Ian Mansfield, Ian Visits, 24 January 2024

“The empowering thing about hobbies,” Patel said ... “is choice, about doing something on our own terms.” Those are wise words. It’s so easy to be defined and hemmed in by your job or circumstances. A hobby sets your psyche free. For those few hours each week you really are where you want to be. – Richard Morrison, The Times, 25 January 2024

Tell Us Your Hobby

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Every day, millions of us dedicate time to our favourite hobbies; as a way to express ourselves and be creative. Whether you make it, modify it or collect it, we want to hear from you.

Fill out the short form at the link below to tell us a little about yourself, what you do in your spare time and why you do it, for a chance to a future presentation of this nationwide project.

 

Tell us your hobby

Credits

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Who made this possible?

Commissioned and produced by Artangel.

In partnership with

Factory International, Manchester; Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea; Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool; Museum of Making, Derby Museums Trust; National Festival of Making with Blackburn Museum & Art GalleryWolverhampton Art GalleryBarnsley CivicInverness Museum and Art GalleryNorthern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland; CCA Derry~LondonderryHospitalfield, Arbroath and Tate St Ives.

Supported by Artangel's Guardian Angels.

With special thanks to Dasha Shenkman OBE.

With thanks to Creative Lives and Croydon Council.

Artangel is generously supported using public funding by Arts Council England, and the private patronage of The Artangel International CircleSpecial AngelsThe Guardian Angels and The Company of Angels.


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