Hetain Patel

My work is always about identity in some way. It’s about looking at how we might release ourselves from the labels or boxes that we might put ourselves in, in order for us to think more widely, for us to be more accepting of others and be more open to difference.

There are endless elements that make up our identities, and out of these it’s often a complex mix between those that are put onto us by others, and those that we self-impose. I’m interested in both observation of identity, and in finding ways for us to create our own.

I lived and worked as an artist in the East Midlands for over 10 years so it was great to go and work in Lincoln with young people there to explore some of these issues. I think every city has its own identity and its own makeup of people, so it was interesting to get to know the young people in Lincoln and work through how we might not just connect to each other but connect to people outside of their city and outside of the country. 

I think it’s really important that the final works, Stupid Bananas and Racist Apples are made primarily for YouTube; for the internet. It’s the way that we can reach the biggest audiences, the way that we can reach the widest demographic audience. Working with young people it’s a medium they engage with so much. These issues are so important that the group didn’t just want them to be in an exhibition, a show or an event, we wanted the work to have longevity and to be somewhere permanently. On YouTube it has the potential to go worldwide and we’re hoping it will.