Welcome to Essex: A sculptural installation by Lata Upadhyaya (Harlow Library)

Welcome to Essex (2023) transforms a family of three Matryoshka dolls with the identities of the communities that call Essex home, celebrating the rich diversity of contemporary Britain and reflecting on the valuable contribution that immigration has made to British society.

Each doll is hand painted with fabric patterns that define the country of origin of ancestral routes or the journey of migration from one country to another. They create a rich tapestry of togetherness, combining culture and lived experience, recognising that the origins of fabric are not always clear and are often influenced by different cultures.

Welcome to Essex builds upon earlier work We Are All Here (2021) when Lata installed a mobile library inside Arts in Transit (2019) and toured Estuary 2021 with an installation of books representing the history and culture of communities around the Thames Estuary. Each book cover represented a fabric of origin, inspired by the stories of migrants that have arrived in the UK, via Tilbury Docks, from across the British Empire.

Lata developed Welcome to Essex during the summer of 2022, by hosting pop up workshops with Arts in Transit in the country parks of Essex, asking participants to represent their identities on the form of a Matryoshka doll. Each drawn identity helping to inspire the concept and design of the dolls, hand painted by Lata.

Lata Upadhyaya is a British Indian visual artist and social commentator, who migrated to the UK in the late nineties. Her socially engaged practice focusses on heritage and culture through the impact of people and place. Her own British Asian identity and experience of migration from East to West informs and inspires others to share and represent their own experiences. Lata’s work represents the valuable contribution that immigration has made to British society, questioning the context of Britishness and what this means in relation to identity.

Held at Harlow Library, this exhibition is free to attend and no booking is required.

Supported by the Essex County Council Arts and Cultural Fund.

Event details


April 22 - May 24, 2024


9:00am - 5:30pm



Who for?

For the whole family

How to book

No booking required.

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