(Dis)embodied Burdens aims to examine the intricacies of mental, emotional and physical repercussions of social gendered identity. The works in the exhibition will be in conversation to create a collective resistance to the traditional, non-queer, (post)colonial objectification and degradation of women. Some artists will remove their bodies as the focal point, whereas others choose instead to tell their story through an authentic self-portrayal.
Presenting the works beside one another from a White feminist view and a Black & PoC womanist lens, I believe creates an interesting multi-perspective look into way to reflect on the integral intersectional differences such as race and/or ethnicity of both groups of artists experiences living in the UK. Enam Gbewonyo, Rachel Williams and Courtenay Welcome for example, are creating works that are intentionally and actively recontextualising or reconstructing these predictable narratives. By reimagining a space where decolonial infrastructures are embedded in research and physical manifestation of the work itself.
It may be that here in this exhibition, a weight of some non-physical burdens are dismembered or completely offloaded. The curatorial placement of two very strong contemporary voices alongside one another presents a rich and engaging exhibition, one that evokes an active response to past and present feminist histories in art and everyday life. These artists aim to acknowledge but also take ownership of who they are socially, in light of a more representative and equitable potential future. Some of the artists including Elizabeth Prentis, Rosie Reed and Holly Jackson are also toying with insights into gendered social roles, motherhood, power dynamics & ownership, consent and sexual trauma, in order to reflect on and reshape, but also share their developing identities.
There is also an interesting narrative created between the playful work of Anika Roach and intimate paintings of Oliva Baynham. Anika Roach's practice removes the typically understood figurative expression of black identity and instead uses absurd moments and humorous scenes to challenge the political weight that often overwhelms the uniqueness of the black experience. Olivia's work assesses and reveals the integral relationship of empathy and intimacy between close friends who tend to be women, both black and white, but in a way that presents realistic life-sized portraits in a sensitive, authentic fashion.
(Dis)embodied Burdens presents deep visual and thematic conversation. Through the carefully curated artists, an obscure perspective of ownership and racial dynamics is also being presented. With respect to the very visible post-colonial nuances of collective racial trauma that exist within the fine art space; especially within the feminine art space and commercial market, this exhibition presents a selection of artworks and artists to uncover a breadth of similarity, relatability, nuance and difference with a focus on highlighting the social disparities evident in each community's true lived experience as women.
By persistently assessing and rejecting the (white) cis-heteronormative male or female gazes in addition to the foundational social structures or even taboos that surround them, it is interesting to see how vulgarity, disembodiment and/or disfiguration are at the centre of the aesthetic explorations of their highly feminist-centered practices.