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Ashleigh M. Barice co-curator and programme producer: TEETH

Close up of a man pressing a wire against his teeth
Close up of a man pressing a wire against his teeth
Still from TEETH by Jennifer Martin. Courtesy of B.Dewitt
Written by
Cat Cooper
Published date
12 December 2020

TEETH is a new video installation developed through collaboration and discussion with UK-based immigrants, exploring the entanglement of love, power, and administration. The project is a collaboration between b.Dewitt Gallery co-founded by Ashleigh Monique Barice, together with artist and lecturer Jennifer Martin, and Primary in Nottingham where it was first exhibited. The work was supported by the Stuart Croft Foundation, The Elephant Trust, and using public funding from Arts Council England.

In January 2017, former Home Secretary Amber Rudd wrote:

Illegal and would-be illegal migrants and the public…need to know that our immigration system has “teeth".

Her letter, to then Prime Minister Theresa May, was leaked in April 2018, amid the Windrush scandal.

Teeth are the bite of the UK immigration system, its violence and desirous devouring. In the film, an eager couple encounters a check of their spousal visa application. They re-enact text and email correspondence, and endure a fire-round of questioning. A Home Office agent acts as the personification of ‘teeth’. We follow them in their daily routine.

TEETH navigates how immigrants can be consumed by systems that seek to churn them up and spit them out – somewhere, elsewhere.

Ashleigh M. Barice, co-curator and programme producer:

TEETH was the first moving image installation for b.Dewitt as a gallery. This was also the first collaboration between b.Dewitt and an established arts institution. From its conception, the gallery sought to support programming that generated conversations not often seen in commercial nor private spaces.

TEETH eloquently responds to the ongoing trauma that is the current immigration system and climate. I strongly believe that stories of this nature are ones to be fostered from a place of care and I feel as if the collaboration between our 3 collaborators - gallery, artist and visual arts organisation - allowed for a unique form of fostering.

It is a deep belief that exhibitions are not static but rather moving entities with a life both within and outside of the gallery space.

The film was widely well received and also forced an audience not familiar with the complexities that plague visa holders, visa applicants, and those who may find themselves somewhere in between.

TEETH - exhibitions

Ashleigh M. Barice - Biography

Ashleigh M. Barice is a research assistant with the Decolonising Arts Institute, works as an independent curator, and has recently joined the team at  Gagosian Gallery.

Upon the completion of her MRes Art in Theory and Philosophy at Central Saint Martins, UAL, Ashleigh co-founded b.Dewitt Gallery: a curatorial platform that works alongside and in conversation with artists whose practice engages with social and political considerations.

She has also worked as a researcher on the Black Artists and Modernism project’s audit of the Middlesbrough Collection; and contributed to Hangar’s 2019 publication Atlantica: Contemporary Art from Angola and its Diaspora.

The overall impact of generating a space for this conversation is one of significance.

— Ashleigh Monique Barice