Halima Cassell: Eclectica-Global Inspirations

International Women’s Day is an important time in the Hangar Seven calendar, we’ve been celebrating it all week. It’s when we focus on events that explore what it means to be a woman in today’s world, seeking out and celebrating the work, stories and achievements of women who motivate and inspire us.

One of those events was Halima Cassell’s Eclectica-global inspirations exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery. Referred to as one of the most dynamic and distinctive ceramicists and sculptors in the UK, Kashmir-born Cassell grew up in the north west of England. Her work explores the beauty of geometry found in nature and architecture, and is also inspired by foreign travel, creating striking sculptures with carved forms represented in cast glass, stone, bronze, wood and unglazed ceramic.

Recent travels to Italy, Japan, Pakistan and throughout the UK inspired experimentation and design research with materials, techniques and construction. While her previous work features carved geometry and precision-honed symmetry, her new work has become more fluid, invoking a more organic feel through the use of curves and asymmetry.

The stand out area of Cassell’s Eclectica-global inspirations exhibition is her Virtues of Unity piece. Her personal experiences of being referred to as an immigrant in the UK and in Pakistan made her think about the basic virtues that connect us and how we live as a global society. It’s an honest reflection on what connects us and not what sets us apart. To create the work, Cassell collected clay from all around the world, representing different nationalities. The pieces displayed in this collection are depicted in a circular formation to signify the global connection between them.

We feel this is a beautiful representation of the connection between cultures, religions, nationalities, sexuality and age. It’s a true celebration of unity and diversity.