Cover photo: Digital mixed media by Francesca Cozier
Now until the 3rd of October in London is a new exhibition titled Black Blossoms. The installation series celebrates and highlights the voices of a group of people who are often made invisible, silenced or are oppressed in society, the black woman.
The 15 artists are UAL alums from the University of Arts London. The curated works explore the intersections of gender, race and identity via film, photography, painting and illustration.
The aim of the exhibition is to challenge and deconstruct stereotypes about Black women as a group, in order to re-establish an authentic and inclusive narrative of Black womanhood in Western culture. Below are four exhibitors and the inspirations behind their reverberating works.
My work explores society’s relationship with race and ethnicity. It centers on Black women’s relationship with their hair. I want to raise questions about the nature of identity and its complex historical and symbolic associations with hair and the significance of this within Black culture.
The work includes a series of images and objects that explore ideas around Black hair. I created the piece to encourage Black women to embrace their natural hair and to document and explore Black women’s feelings towards the state of their hair and why they wear their hair the way they do. Whether they wear their hair in its natural state or cover it with a wig, the project aims not to expose, but to show how important hair can be in Black culture, whether as an aesthetic choice or a political statement.
Dionne D Ward
My interest in folds came from observations of the melanin-rich network of lines in my hands. Wanting to capture a depth and physicality in my study of skin, I began making work that got my hands dirty, using clay and fabric hardened with plaster-based media.
This piece uses a net curtain I received from my mother and was shaped over a chair and a table, which I then removed, before flipping the whole piece upside down.
My fabric acts as a shedding or casing of that presence over the domestic space, flipped on its head to explore the woman’s morphing role in our society
My work focuses on representations of black women in society and social media. I focus on positive and celebratory images of black women that counter Western (mis)representations that portray overly sexualized black women, gold diggers, angry black women, jezebels etc.
My aim is to reaffirm the self-worth of black women. I create large scale portraits from images on social media, such as Instagram, in order to translate the representation of black women and black culture into painting.
Yellow Fever is a depiction of the future, in a town called Kwekwe in Zimbabwe, which references established cultures and traditions. Through memory, I have revisited a place and space which I encountered growing up in post-colonial Zimbabwe.
Using an Afro-futuristic approach, memories are recalled and recreated to envision an African utopia. There is no space, place, or borders on the African continent. The Black body plays the central character in the painting, acting as the vehicle to express themes of sexuality, gender, spirituality, memory, and childhood.
The aim is to re-frame and construct an alternative perspective of the Black Zimbabwean body. Having lived in South-Africa, Zimbabwe, and England, displacement and identity is a recurring theme in my work.
Black Blossoms Exhibition:
On show through 3rd October 2016
University of the Arts London
272 High Holborn
London WC1V 7EY