`Ice Cream and Magic II', 15 Jan-19 Feb, Watermans Arts Centre, Brentford (081-568 1176)Reuse content
This weekend sees the opening of a particularly messy-sounding exhibition at the Watermans Arts Centre in Brentford: Ice Cream and Magic II. The title is deceptive, since the show involves neither ice cream nor magic - at least not directly. It's the work of Chila Kumari Burman, a Liverpudlian artist, who takes the ice-cream business of her Asian parents as the inspiration for her work. The exhib ition intersperses atmospheric old photographs of her parents with their ice-cream van in 1950s Bootle - "Itwas a fairly wacky ice-cream van, with a big Bengali tiger on the top,'' Burman says - with wild laser-printed self-portraits. "They're splattere d all over the wall so they hit you like a slap in the face. In a lot of them I'm pulling wild, wild faces.They're a bit trippy. But I'm not on anything stronger than Chinese herbs.'' Burman's intent is partly to challenge stereotypes of Asian women ("Y ou are still rather invisible if you are an Asian woman. In the photos I'm using myself as a vehicle to confront that") and partly to celebrate her parents' spirit of survival in their new country (her father worked as a magician, performing in seamen's clubs, as well as being an ice-cream man). Keeping everything in the family, Chila's brother, Magic, will do a mural in the foyer over the weekend using hip-hop and graffiti techniques. Still no ice cream on offer, though Burman points out that they usua lly make a 6ft fruit sculpture in the shape of an ice-cream cone, and then invite spectators to eat it. Sadly, this tasty element of the installation won't be happening at Watermans, though it will reappear at the next showing in Portsmouth.