POD 5 ARTIST RESIDENCY 2023: Ikra Arshad

Artist Ikra Arshad creates The Dreaming Room in Pod 5 at East Quay.

Pod 5 is situated on the highest level of East Quay, accessed via the second viewing terrace with views of the Bristol Channel and the marina. Every year, East Quay selects a different artist for the Pod 5 Artist Residency, inviting an emerging creative practitioner to live and work at East Quay for two weeks, working with the community to help inform, design, and create a transformative installation in Pod 5.

Ikra Arshad is an artist and designer creating large-scale bold & playful murals and installations for public spaces, sparking curiosity and play. During Ikra’s two-week artist residency at East Quay in February 2023, she ran creative workshops with the local community, including the Youth Club and the public at a monthly gathering known as ‘Creatives Club’ and with groups of toddlers aged between 2 and 4 years old.

Following these sessions, she worked in a minimalist style with a playful approach, using pastel tones and contrasting monochrome geometric patterns to enhance the energy of the space. The orange is inspired by the local Somerset clay that subtly mixes with pastel pink, purple, and green which is inspired by the vibrant sunsets and moorland flora found nearby, creating an environment that is both bold and serene. The community sessions helped inform the design of the new pods by working with clay to create stacking sculptures. Guests and visitors to the pod can disassemble the new shelf objects, create their own stacking shape combinations, engage with the space and find inspiration through play during their visit.

Inspired by East Quay’s values of collaborating with your community to reimagine and build your future; Ikra created a space in the mezzanine area where guests and visitors are invited to take some time out of their stay to reflect and journal in ‘The Dreaming Room’. Using optional journal prompts, guests can journal their ideas on reimagining the future, discovering more ways to connect with their local community and bringing these visions to life. 

Ikra Arshad says: 
“The aim was to complement the existing area’s aesthetic and character and to engage with the local community in a positive, impactful way. No prior knowledge of art history is required to understand or engage with the mural artwork due to the universal nature of the abstract design. Drawing inspiration from the naturally occurring colour palette of contrasting colours that can be found within nature, as well as the symbolism behind ancient architecture as spaces of reflection; the artworks channel the synergy of architecture and nature combined. Thus evoking feelings of joy, hope and positivity, increasing visitors' sense of wellbeing and connection with themselves and each other. As the sun rises and sets on the harbour, the mural and shelf objects will change and shift in its appearance, acting as a prominent sundial throughout the day whilst people experience the artworks. The immersive artworks will act as a creative intervention, sparking the viewer's curiosity and a fresh perspective of seeing the world.”

Photo credits: Jesse Wild


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