Assembly 2024

Prem Sahib / Shenece Oretha

Thu 21 Mar 2024
Performance 1: 19.00 - 20.30 Doors 18.30
Performance 2: 21.00 - 22.30 Doors 20.30
Lancaster Rooms
New Wing

Prem Sahib

Alleus is a new sound performance work by Prem Sahib, presented and co-commissioned by the Roberts Institute of Art and Somerset House Studios.

A polyphony of live and pre-recorded voices, Alleus – Suella spelled backwards – re-orders, re-directs and disrupts a House of Commons speech by the former UK Home Secretary, Suella Braverman. Performed live by a group of vocalists, and with additional production developed in collaboration with artist Woodsy Bransfield, Sahib's piece works to resist the damaging language often legitimised by politicians and echoed through society in hate speech. 

As alluded to in the work's title, and in the sonic manipulation of Braverman's voice within the piece, Sahib plays on the trope of conspiracy theorists searching for meaning in reversed words, and also the act of ‘sending back’ – a repeated phrase used by Braverman in her anti-immigration speeches on the topic of the so-called ‘migrant crisis’. Alleus rejects the original speech's individualistic message and the egotistical, empty nature of political rhetoric, embracing a pluralism that works against the idea that one hostile voice can speak for the many.

Premiering at Assembly, Alleus will also travel to Edinburgh Art Festival in August 2024, to be featured as part of their 20th birthday performances.


Prem Sahib

The work of Prem Sahib embodies a poetic and provocative “destabilised minimalism”. It references the architecture of public and private spaces, structures that shape individual and communal identities, senses of belonging, alienation and confinement. Mixing the personal and political, abstraction and figuration, Sahib’s formalism is suggestive of the body as well as its absence, drawing attention to traces of touch and frameworks of looking.

Sahib’s work has been shown widely, including solo institutional exhibitions at Balconies, Kunstverein Hamburg in 2017 and Side On, ICA in 2015, as well in group shows at Sharjah Art Foundation, Migros Museum, Whitechapel Gallery, Hayward Gallery, KW Institute of Art, Des Moines Art Centre and the Gwangju Biennale. Their work is in the collections of Tate, Arts Council England, the Government Art Collection, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Norway, MONA in Australia and Walker Art Center.

Shenece Oretha

Shenece Oretha’s work is invested in the mobilising potential of sound and the oral traditions of the Caribbean diaspora. This call and response between audience, sculpture and performer celebrates the resistant technologies of Caribbean music and instruments. 

As steel drums rattle out a beat in the space, the stage is set for Oretha to respond, leading the room in ceremony and song. The work invites questions of communal agency and challenges audience culture in Britain, drawing instead on Caribbean performance traditions that require response and participation.


Shenece Oretha

Shenece Oretha (b. Montserrat) is a London based multidisciplinary artist sounding out the mobilising potential of sound and listening in art. Through multi-vocal and multichannel sound installations, sculpture, print, workshops and text Shenece Oretha amplifies and celebrates listening and sound as an embodied and collective practice. Her works are attentive to not just the music, but the musicality of Black oral and aural traditions, ceremonies and literature together with the emotional, physical and communal resonance they generate.

Approximate Stage Timings

19.00  Shenece Oretha
19.45  Prem Sahib
21.00  Prem Sahib
21.45  Shenece Oretha


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Prem Sahib's Alleus is co-commissioned by the Roberts Institute of Art and Somerset House Studios