Press release: 26 Aug 2009

Iniva presents exhibitions by NS Harsha and Chen Chieh-jen at Rivington Place from 18 Sept to 21 Nov 2009.


Both artists explore issues of globalisation and migrant labour.

NS Harsha, Nations. Installation view Sharjah Biennial 2008 (detail). Hand-painted flags, sewing machines. © the artist and Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai

Nations is a grand-scale installation by Indian artist NS Harsha, exhibited for the first time in Europe at Rivington Place. It questions international politics and globalisation combining serious discussion with visual wit. 192 sewing machines are overlaid with calico painted flags signifying the countries that make up the United Nations.

NS Harsha is an artist known for his sensitivity to the human condition, drawing on details of cultural traditions in India and subjects which are part of all our lives. He focuses on the whimsical as well as the tragic aspects of life.

'This work took shape after my visit to a local small scale textile factory in which I personally experienced the realities of "human labour". Hierarchies and exploitation are part of today's global economic order. Nations engages with these socio-political complexities and cultural entanglements.' NS Harsha

The artist creates a vision of a world divided by flags, he uses a delicate web of threads to link the sewing machines. Nations refers to the outsourcing of labour in response to the demands of world economies, as well as the networks that exist between countries. NS Harsha has exhibited internationally, Nations is his most ambitious installation to date and was shown to critical acclaim at the Sharjah Biennial earlier in 2009.

NS Harsha lives and works in Mysore, India. He was the recipient of the 3rd Artes Mundi Prize awarded in 2008 and worked with Iniva in 2000.

Picking Through the Rubble, an exhibition by NS Harsha, is showing at Victoria Miro Gallery in London from 10 October - 14 November 2009.

Chen Chieh-jen: Factory

Taiwanese artist Chen Chieh-Jen's haunting film Factory is shown for the first time in London. Focusing on a group of textile workers, it is set within the context of manufacturing moving abroad in search of cheaper labour.

In 2003 the artist invited workers to return to the Lien Fu garment factory which had been closed down seven years earlier. The unscrupulous owners were investigated for refusing to play retirement pensions and severance.

'In places all over the world, many labourers have had similar experiences - in relation to the ‘transplanted' and the ‘untransplanted'. In order to find low-priced labour, factories constantly shift locations, but unemployed workers have no choice but to linger on in the same place.' Chen Chieh-jen

In the mid 20th-century Taiwan's manufacturing industry was booming as the Western world outsourced production. Factories sprung up all over the country and workers were brought in to live in dormitories.

In this derelict garment plant, abandoned objects still remain from seven years before: calendars, newspapers, punch clocks, manufacturing equipment, the dust that has built up, and the banners left behind from the workers' protests.

Shots of women textile workers moving around the building are mixed with fragmentary images of their protests, as well as footage produced by the government in the 1960s to promote the new found prosperity.

Workforce: artist Shiraz Bayjoo employs the public

18 September - 21 November 2009, Education Space, Rivington Place

Shiraz Bayjoo transforms the Education Space into a temporary artist run factory. He creates a new workforce in response to the NS Harsha and Chen Chieh-jen exhibitions who will manufacture a communal flag to fill the gallery space.

To join Bayjoo's workforce in the form of stitching, sewing and conversation, drop in on Thursday evenings between 6-8pm or Saturdays 2-5pm. If you would like to sign up as a group contact or call 020 7749 1254 in advance.

Participation in the projects takes place between 18 September - 15 October 2009, viewing continues until 21 November.

Notes to Editor

NS Harsha biography: NS Harsha lives and works in Mysore, India. He studied for a BFA in Painting at C.A.V.A, Mysore (1992) and Masters in Painting from Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda (1995). He received the Sanskriti Award, Sankriti Pratishthan, New Delhi (2003). He is the recipient of the 3rd Artes Mundi Prize awarded in 2008 and worked with Iniva in the 1990s.

Harsha has exhibited internationally, including the following exhibitions: in 2008 - Sharjah Biennial, UAE; Santhal Family, Muhka Museum, Antwerpen, Belgium; Leftovers, (solo exhibition), Maison Hermes, Tokyo and Osaka, Japan; Come give us a speech, (solo exhibition) Bodhi Art New York; Indian Highway, Serpentine Gallery, London; India Moderna, IVAM Valencia, Spain. In 2007 Prospects, Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome, Italy; Horn Please, Museum of fine arts, Berne, Switzerland; New Narratives, Chicago Cultural Centre, USA; Private / Corporate IV, Daimler Chrysler Collection, Berlin, Germany; New Space, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai. In 2006 - Belief, 1st Singapore Biennale, Singapore; Charming Nation, Gallery Chemould, Mumbai (Solo). In 2005 - Mural, Project Art Space, Dublin, Ireland; Indian Summer, École Nationale des Beaux Arts, Paris, France. In 2004 - Another Passage to India, Ethnography Museum, Geneva, Switzerland; Edge of Desire: Recent Art in India, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; the Asia Society, Queens Museum, New York, and travelling. In 2003 - Crossing Generations: diVERGE, 40 years of Gallery Chemould, NGMA, Mumbai. In 2002 - 2nd Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial, Fukuoka, Japan; Drawing Space, Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham, UK. He has also participated in apt3, The Third Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Arts, Brisbane, Australia in 1999.
He was Visiting Artist in ‘VAFA' Vibhavi Academy of Fine Arts, Colombo, Sri Lanka (2001) and in Shantou University, Cheung Kong School of Arts & Design, China (2005).

Chen Chieh-jen biography: born in 1960, Taoyuan, Taiwan, Chen Chieh-jen currently works and lives in Taipei, Taiwan. He exhibits widely in his home country Taiwan and internationally. In 2009 his work Empire's Borders was included in the Taiwan Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale. Chieh-jen was first shown in the Taiwan Pavilion in 1999 at the 48th Venice Bienniale. In 2005 he was one of 41 artists presented by curator Maria de Corral in the Padiglione Italia, The experience of art, at the 51st Biennale di Venezia, Venice. Chieh-jen was included in the Third Guangzhou Triennial in 2008, and the 10th International Istanbul Biennial in 2007. The work The Route was commissioned by Tate Gallery for the Liverpool Biennale International in 2006. In 1998 Chieh-jen exhibited at the XXIV Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil. In 2002 his work Lingchi- Echoes of a Historical Photograph was presented at the 2002 Taipei Biennial.
Chieh-jen's film works have been exhibited at international film festivals including the Vancouver International Film Festival: Experimental Short Films in 2004; Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente (BAFICI), in Buenos Aires in 2005; and the 37th International Film Festival in Rotterdam in 2008.

Further information is available at

Further press information

Press view - Thursday 17 September 10am-12pm

For high resolution images and further press information please contact:

Clare Roebuck tel 020 7749 1247

Head of Communications

Listings Information

Venue: Rivington Place, London, EC2A 3BA

Exhibitions: NS Harsha: Nations

Chen Chieh-jen: Factory

Dates: 18 September - 21 November 2009

Public opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 11am - 6pm

Late Thursdays: 11am - 9pm (Last admission 8.30pm)

Saturday: 12noon - 6pm

Sunday, Monday: Closed

Admission: Free

Nearest tubes: Old Street & Liverpool Street

Rivington Place is fully accessible in all public areas. For parking & wheelchair facilities or further information about Rivington Place +44 (0)20 7749 1240,,or visit the website

About Iniva

Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) creates exhibitions, publications, multimedia, education and research projects designed to bring the work of artists from culturally-diverse backgrounds to the attention of the widest possible public. (

Iniva is supported by Arts Council England.

Opened in 2007, Rivington Place is Iniva and Autograph ABP's contemporary visual arts space and the UK's first permanent public space dedicated to culturally-diverse visual arts and photography. The building has been realised with thanks to funding from the Arts Council England Lottery Capital 2 Programme and Barclays, the Rivington Place founding Corporate Partner. Barclays £1.1m contribution is part of a much wider programme of community support.

The Rivington Place project also gives thanks to London Development Agency, City Fringe Partnership, European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Hackney Council and The City Bridge Trust for their support as well as The Foyle Foundation and the Garfield Weston Foundation. Thanks also to Brodksy Centre and Clifford Chance for their in-kind support. (

Find out more


  • Nations

    NS Harsha: Nations at Rivington Place

  • Workforce

    Find out more about Shiraz Bayjoo's project