Blue Baroque: Reimagining the Room of Beauty
Updated: 5 days ago
In March 2020 I visited Tate Britain's exhibition 'British Baroque: Power and Illusion' and was presented with a vast selection of 17th century European paintings - representing the rich lifestyle of aristocratic individuals. One image startled me when entering the gallery space. This was a painting of a black child as a slave wearing an obtuse, metal collar, alongside a dog who was also wearing one. To see this image in 2020 (during the rise of the BLM movement - something sat in my mind - it was a sense of discomfort). I didn't intend for my analysis on the exhibition to become a racial critique, however, when entering the room called 'Beauty' and being introduced to nobody who looked like me (a mixed race, woman of colour), I felt inclined to insert myself into the frame.
In my recent series, Blue Baroque: Reimagining the Room of Beauty (2021), I have created an alternative space, inspired by Afrofuturism (the liberating space of representing black identity), for me to become represented alongside the imagery which was displayed in the gallery space.
The gown that I am modelling is an artwork called Blue Expressionism which I created as a self-healing performance in 2019. The material is canvas and represents blue and green automatic marks of expression which I would describe as a a liberating release of my throat and heart chakra energy. Through these images the artwork becomes a blanket to my bare body and signature of my identity as I embody the confidence, poise and centre of attention energy which all of the women in the room of beauty at Tate Britain did.
I am visible and I stand amongst them - togetherness is where the real power lies.