Cooper Cole and Soft Opening are pleased to present Memories Gave Birth to Hope, Part Two a solo exhibition of the work of Jagdeep Raina. This exhibition is a continuation of Raina’s installation at Piccadilly Circus Underground Station which took place from 3 December, 2020 – 24 January, 2021.
This exhibition features a series of drawings and textile works by Raina that explore the birth of Bhangra music. Bhangra was created by working class South Asian Migrant labourers who worked in the industrial factories of Britain — specifically Birmingham and the outskirts of London — and was popularized in Canada, the United States, and back to the Global South. Developed in the late 1970s and remaining popular until the early 1990s, Bhangra remixed traditional Punjabi folk with hip hop and reggae, and was, to many,
a break from the rigid holds of tradition.
Many of the lyrics were politically inflected, calling for anti-colonial, anti-racist, queer and feminist futures, and Bhangra club culture created spaces where external markers such as race, sexuality, and gender could be exceeded. Raina conducted his research in both formal and personal archives, referencing documentaries, photographs, oral history interviews, album covers, and other ephemera. His resulting works collapse visual references to album covers, portraiture, Punjab phulkari embroidery, and poetry to reflect on the tangled dialogue between imperialism and self-expression that continues to resonate today.