Reclamation of the Exposition (2020) explores the commodification, fetishization and sexualisation of the black female body, specifically through the human displays in ethnographic expositions in the 18th and 19th centuries. The work is influenced by ethnographic photographs, which were circulated as pornography. Black (and other racial minority) bodies were photographed either naked in front of a white background, stripped of their identity, or surrounded by random tropical plants to make the photographs seem authentic. Using self-portraiture and digital collage whilst drawing from Prince Roland Napoleon Bonaparte’s photographic collection ‘Boshimans et Hottentots’, the works combine the contemporary with historic ways of being seen. Referencing her Nigerian heritage, Adekunle explores the relationship between the past and present ways the black female body is treated.
COUP DE FOUDRE
The exhibition is influenced by the French term coup de foudre meaning 'a thunderbolt', uncontrollable by any outside force. Thunderbolt forms when lightning occurs, a large charge of electricity causes the surrounding air to vibrate as it passes through the atmosphere to the surface. Coup de Foudre isn't a fleeting spark but rather a potential ongoing charge fuelled by love. The term was introduced through a dialogue with Chinasa Vivian Ezugha. The online exhibition is in support of Black artists and Black Lives Matter and the theme is open.
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I am a visual artist and curator based between Dundee and Glasgow, Scotland. My work is a deep interrogation of the notion of self. Having been born in Zimbabwe and raised in Scotland, I have a particular interest in W.E.B Dubois’ notion of Double Consciousness, which expresses the psychological challenge of having African heritage whilst living in the West. I am interested in the relationship between spirituality, imagination and the role of the artist in disseminating symbolic imagery to provide a space for healing. Working in a multi-disciplinary practice, I work with a wide range of media. My photographic practice is formulated through digital studio based compositions utilising body paint and muted lighting conditions to create images that appear to emerge from darkness.
Chinasa Vivian Ezugha
My Body is a Church’ is a conceptual art that implies the experience of time, space and material, rather than the representation of objects; drawing on the body and in this case the voice as the most direct medium of expression. [Goldberg, 1995].
The experience of being enclosed in the space of nothingness and then finding out that nothingness is everything, has given me a new understanding on what it means to be an artist in times of a crisis.
This film is one part of a journey that seeks to analyse the phenomenology of an elaborated witnessing through voice and film. Entering into a space of the 'other' and vocalising the other through sound. My body is a church, philosophically is like the ‘coup de foudre’, an eclipse of life that is uncontrollable by any outside force. Nonetheless, the process itself has not been a coup de foudre or an eclipse of life. Through the negotiation of ideas and the relationship between ideas and situation, the process has been controlled by the very fact of life and has had to adapt to life during this time of uncertainty.
The experience of living in a cultural hybrid, in a space of distance, has become my space of multiversity.
“Travel has defined me, it has exposed me to a myriad of cultures and given me a broader view of life. I myself am a mix of cultures, which makes me want to share that experience with others, generally by capturing moments that pull you into location.”
Louis Bird-Mendes, Social Distancing; a brief moment in the sun, 2020.
Nadeem Din-Gabisi’s watercolour series is inspired by Sun Ra's composition "Sleeping Beauty", the watercolours start to take shape from the surging brassy tones and the lyrics, "without a prince charming, there's nothing black beauty can do...", positioning prince charming not as a physical embodiment of man, but something within black beauty herself, that is reawaken from dormancy and native ideas in herself. In finding her "prince charming", she returns to an alignment and harmony, envisioned as other worldly figures, shapes and experiences.
A figure on roller blade layers different types of clothing to point of suffocation. With a waiting-room (Eritrean folk instrumental) sound track playing in the background. This moving-image focuses on rebuilding and repairing the cultural and community blind spots post 2020 in a new series of installation that expose our shared social context within local community circumstances. Through digging deep we can fixing roots and mending traumatic experiences that define and isolate self-care.
Koumbah’s work explores sexual violence as a rite of passage for girls, womxn & femmes. This work is a witnessing; addressing the need to re-instate the shadow womxn and her wisdom. Questioning the capitalist model that prefers the survivor over the victim and the denial of Black womxn & femmes’ ability to inhabit the elusive position of victim meaningfully - so being denied (radical) transformative potential.
To catch a tiger, act like a pig / Manifest!, 2020 is the embodiment of her own salvation; a manifest of her sovereignty claimed back from a hostile yt capitalist colonial cis hetero ableist patriarchal state, its logic and its laws; a call to take reparations and retribution back in our own hands. This work is community making.
Nina Siphesihle Pinkie Mdwaba
SBW (2019) is a tribute to Mama Winnie Mandela. It challenges the dangerous narrative that Black woman are inherently strong and makes space for the vulnerability that Black womxn have been denied through political rhetoric which ages back to the slave era. It attempts to humanise the historically demonised Winnie Mandela who through Western media has been cast as the “Lady macBeth” though the fight against Apartheid and shines a light on the consistent distortion Western media shows of black womxn and historical figures alike.
Nina Siphesihle Pinkie Mdwaba, I'LL BELIEVE IT WHEN I SEE IT / ELEVATED VOICES, 2020.
Black, femme bodies on parade
All this fall I should have been performing in Diaspore as part of No Such Thing As Solid
Ground, a multimedia solo exhibition by artist Otobong Nkanga currently up at the Gropius
Bau in Berlin. But through some offbeat court intrigue favored by the performative politics of Berlin’s art scene, there was a “collective action” that somehow erupted amongst the performers. Now there will be no performance. I propose to use The Gaze as a digital document of (any willing) fellow ex-performers as we navigate Berlin streets during CoronaTime, trying to live our lives.
I would like to create a multimedia collage piece that juxtaposes still and moving images of us in public, and public reactions to our presence out in these Berlin streets. Berlin is lauded as a multi-cultural capital, but the relentless, entitled Gaze to which WOC are subjected to nearly everywhere around the world is intense here, and it can turn ugly. For instance, in July I was grabbed off my bike and thrown to the ground. The man who did it to me is one in multitudes who have assiduously to unseat me for having the temerity to (skillfully) enjoy a brisk cycle while Black--and female. For this residency, I would like to communicate this sense of constant surveillance that underpins White Supremacy--particularly when it comes to female bodies--that is often denied or ignored.