Lives and works between Sydney and the Blue Mountains, NSW
The Silver Expanse
20 August — 5 September 2020
I see this as a small subset of a larger, ongoing body of work (first seen in my exhibition Coogee Is Everywhere, 2019) where I continue to explore where my partner Faith Agugu and I love to be the most - in the ocean and specifically Coogee - but where I also examine and tease out historical, social and hierarchical structures as they specifically present themselves here. Histories of displacement, superimposition and shadow narratives, sometimes casting Faith as the fictional Lady President of the Coogee Surf Lifesaving Club, a Sydney Eastern Suburbs bastion since 1907, and a role she would utterly excel at in real life.
In this small set of works silver oil paint acts as a unifying thematic colour, so that rendering of water comes to represent ALL space. Silver as a 'medium' can come to represent the ground that all things appear from, including things of beauty, the relational world, and the world of structures and biases including white supremacy.
There is an intentional range here: the smaller works are almost like studies and are very specific in their focus, but I also want to remind people that notions of a single reality (not to mention fixed objects) are very slippery and fugitive. Firstly in the sense that silver itself acts as a kind of portal, but also that in a work like 'Dream' there can be multiple, simultaneous and parallel senses of reality. This work also points to my interest in the use of intense colour as a way of inverting apparent reality or accepted convention, and is a core feature of this wider body of work. This specific intense colour is also very much a gift to me from my African friends and loved ones, and signifies utterly alternative realities and modes of being.
It is a fundamental aspect of all my work that people make the distinction here between 'exoticisation' and 'normalisation'. Exoticisation is part of the subtle structure of white supremacy. Normalisation on the other hand calls for bringing ourselves to an expanded sense of what 'the world of peoples' can be, a place where we can move beyond our biases and appreciate and celebrate people for who they really are in their expanded, fullest sense of humanity. A place where those people no longer feel exoticised but fully 'seen'. What do you see?