Kiara Mohamed: The Lives We Lead

20 January - 31 March 2021

Bluecoat was honoured to premiere Kiara Mohamed’s film The Lives We Lead (2020) online in early 2021.

A film still showing a black person facing away from the camera and holding a lit candle. The subtitles read, "we are living through an upheaval."

The film was originally scheduled to be exhibited at Bluecoat but moved to an online screening after the building closed temporarily in line with lockdown restrictions.

The Lives We Lead (2020) was filmed during the first lockdown Spring 2020 and throughout Summer 2020. It features video calls between Kiara as he catches up with friends and acquaintances, contrasting what was happening in their lives against global events. It captures moments of shared humanity, exploring the way Covid-19 has impacted on our lives and the effect of the global uprising of Black Lives Matter.

The Lives We Lead follows on from Mohamed's film Home (2020), which was made during the first lockdown in 2020. Home was released to great acclaim for Light Night 2020. This mesmerising and poetic film shot by drone, takes us on a flight from Mohamed’s neighbourhood, out across a silent city and towards the river before returning home; the drone travels where he cannot. This powerful film touches on homelessness and the minimum wage workers who now find themselves on the front line of the fight against the virus.

“The film is a celebration of the Black and Brown lives in Liverpool but also an acknowledgement of how far we have yet to go in the UK to bring justice for the lives of Black people. The UK gets to get away with comparing themselves to America and say that we are not racist. The truth is, we are and Black Lives Matter movement is not just for the American people but across the world."
Kiara Mohamed
A film still showing two black children facing away from the camera; the background is a white wall.
A film still showing a skyline at night with an orange sunset sky. The title of the film, The Lives We Lead, is in white text.

The screening of The Lives We Lead was part of a new ongoing programme by Bluecoat to focus on the work of Liverpool City Region artists. The programme launched in December 2020 with an exhibition by Josie Jenkins, Assembled Worlds, and new opportunities will be announced later in 2021.

A series of photographs from the same project has also been acquired by the Art Collection of the University of Salford, having been commissioned by Open Eye Gallery, with images shown on a screen at Museum of Liverpool in autumn 2020.

Marie-Anne McQuay, Bluecoat’s Head of Programme said: “At Bluecoat we bring together artists from all over the world but we need to renew our efforts to nurture local talent. Kiara Mohamed is testament to the strength of the Liverpool arts scene and we’re delighted to be able to show new work from him. We also want to make more spontaneous opportunities and slots available as we change the dynamic of our exhibition making in the coming months and years”.

More about the artist

Liverpool based Kiara Mohamed (b. 1990 Kismayo, Somalia) is a Trans, multidisciplinary artist based in Toxteth, Liverpool. His work focuses on identity, social issues and the role art plays in our lives in addressing these issues. He uses photography, poetry, film and drone photography to comment on post-colonial ideas and reflect on his background and the community he lives in. His work has been screened at Tate Liverpool and the British Museum with most recent projects for Savera UK and Homotopia 2020 shared online and installed in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. A new commission of photographs has been acquired for the University of Salford Art Collection in partnership with Open Eye Gallery.

See more of Kiara Mohamed's work and read interviews and features on his practice.

With thanks to The Estate of Fanchon Frohlich and Patrons Alan Sprince and Debra Morris.