Sky, Feb 2020 (Villa Romana)

  • Hair, wire, thread.
  • Sonia e Barrett PHOTO CREDIT: first 2 photo images by Adeola Hahn remaining images by OKONO studio

Everywhere that the sky has been violently reimagined as a white celestial place is on fire right now, the continent of Africa, in Brazil, in Australia, wanting to visually reclaim the sky as a powerful black space afro-textured hair is the vessel to do it.

Clouds cycle through many colours, the black cloud is the pregnant fertile life-giving cloud.

I used a multitude of different hair textures in this work.
Sky reclaims the celestial as a black space. Perhaps when we reimagine a nourished sky as black when we look at each other as black people we can see celestial beings.

The clouds are a mixture of the afro textures used to simulate hair and real hair. The real hair in this work is given to me in trust by fellow artists, friends and family members.

Everyone who comes to this work has to look up.

The clouds live kind of diaspora beyond any single nation-state ascending from the soil in one nation returning to the soil in another.

Now the world is burning and environmental catastrophe is near, it looks like black peoples on many continents have lost thier fight for soil, to own and determine ancestral lands and land and property in the lands we have been migrated to and from with or without choice.

There is a visual irony that over/development has always blackened the sky. Without these developments, a dark sky would simply herald the advent of just enough of an essential life-giving force: rain.

Black ways of understanding the soil and the sky have long been looked down on as undeveloped perhaps the opposite will be shown to be true, the white cloud can be seen as the "undeveloped" black cloud. Development is a matter of perspective.

The work is about a powerful vision of black collectivity, it is a group of singular clouds but individuation is not lost entirely, nor is a fixed ideal or imposed upon the collective which always stays loose and fluid both "me" and "we" are possible. In certain formations, this is more or less apparent another reason why this is a sculptural work.

The clouds are a black space that is fluid beyond binaries and fixity, too often symbols of black close down meanings rather than opening them up.

This is a work that is created in community although that hasn't been documented yet it would be powerful to expand and travel this work.

Curated by Black History Month Vienna in the Villa Romana, Florence Italy.

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