The Society of British Theatre Designers

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Make Believe - Catalogue Available Now

Gloriously Impure:

‘Anthony Burgess wrote in his 1970 introduction to that extraordinary book All About H. Hatterr by G.V. Desani, an early example of magic realism: “It is not pure English; it is like the English of Shakespeare, Joyce and Kipling, gloriously impure.” Khan, Zaidi and others like them in increasing numbers have created a brand of work that is, as Burgess saw in that early example, distinctively British.’ Rose Wend Fenton and Lucy Neal  The Turning World

Keith Khan artistic career has been eclectic and has engaged with wide and diverse audiences and participants. Inspired by the energy of popular culture, his projects are frequently either epic or personal in scale; all very relevant for this age of user generated content. 

After Foundation at Wimbledon, Keith studied Fine Art/ Sculpture at Middlesex where he found the freedom to work in an open way –to take an experimental approach to design and making through live art and performance. He made installations from paper and fabric, exploring materials, and drawing on his Trinidadian background and carnival associations to create an original visual vocabulary that was ephemeral and transitory.

Ten years of his early career were spent creating costumes for the Notting Hill Carnival and major UK national and sporting events. During this time he continued to develop creative methodologies based on experiment and improvisation. His experiences in the masquerade camps taught him to work collaboratively with the skills and people available. In these projects the outcome was determined by the team -what they were able to do.  There was a great immediacy about what would be designed. He described how…
Greer Crawley 
from an interview with Keith Khan

Keith Khan is an award-winning artist whose past commissions include Director of Design for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games, the OBIE award winning international multi-media performance project Alladeen, and the Commonwealth Parade for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 – this involved 4,000 participants and reached a live audience of 1 million and 80 million television viewers worldwide.  As a founding director of motiroti Keith worked on major projects with key venues including the Barbican Centre, City of Lille, Tate Modern and the Royal Albert Hall.  Keith was Head of Culture for the London 2012 Olympic Games from 2006 – 2009 where he shaped the initial impetus of the programme with a strong emphasis on young people and diversity. Prior to this he was Chief Executive of Rich Mix, a multi-million pound new build arts venue in East London.  Keith is now Chief Creative Officer for D Lime, a London based company that creates world-class spectacular arts and cultural events, ranging from design commissions to large-scale projects with multiple outcomes.  D Lime’s expertise is in scale, process and strong design aesthetics, an approach that extends beyond events and is applied to project development process, delivery systems and community involvement. D Lime is currently developing a range of projects including a major London season of contemporary Caribbean inspired work.

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