Creative Compass show at the Royal Geographical Society, 6 May – 2 July 2010

Notes on the Creative Compass show at the Royal Geographical Society, 6 May – 2 July 2010, Monday – Friday, 10.00 – 17.00 free admission.
The exhibition is now extended until 10 August 2010.

1 – Site specific version of the “Proustian Map of London – Land of Achievement”.
The scaling of the iconic diamond shape of London to fit within the wall specifications has been a great challenge. The wall is 6 m long and 4 metre tall so the viewing of the northern quarters necessitate the use of binoculars.

Themes: celebration of personal achievements, feel good factor, diversity and universality of the human condition, sense of community, geographical inclusion/exclusion, North and South London, local knowledge, positive/negative perception of boroughs and postcodes, trust and validation of my project. Reference to the London Map Shewing the Residencies of the Members of the RGS 1843

 

2 – “Fellow Artists/Fellow Muses” piece
Echoing the glorious panel of RGS medallists, this piece is a celebration of the career of 8 fellow women artists [Agnes, Susan, Nina Torp, Gayle Kwon Chang, Yara El Sherbini, Nicholette Goff, Rita Keegan, Cleo Broda]. The location of their shows is recorded as latitude and longitude coordinates and a keepsafe of their presence on this planet is embodied in the hair lock used instead of the bristle of a paintbrush.

 Themes: ephemerality and scope of one’s career, recognition, validation, opportunities, level of success, gender, categorization, journey from emerging to established, building blocks of an art career on a global scale, fragmentation of the art world, reference to Caroline Bond Day’s anthropological work.

 

3 – X&Y – DNA map
This circular floor piece record the maternal and paternal lines of a mixed race person. The result is a ghostly demarcation of continental coasts that illustrate possible ancestral journeys.

Themes: ancestry, notion of ‘terroir’, ethnicity, genetics, dominant and recessive dynamics of a family relationships, geography, preconception of where one comes from, density of population adapting to the land, elusive sense of belonging, old fashioned notion of bloodline vs new technology of DNA mapping, reference to the Delisle and Buache maps in the RGS collection

 

4 – Colour Coding series The Age of Innocence
In these colour prints, APN maps out the variations of black and white tones on two toddlers’ faces, labelling them with food terminology. In French, the mother tongue of the artist, a person of mixed black and white racial heritage is defined amongst other things as café au lait. The pleasure derived from tasting, smelling, touching, looking, is lingering in the child’s tongue where knowledge is swallowed, inquired, repeated. Racial awareness is taught and given an ‘appropriate’ label, a great leap into the adult world, at a later stage of language and identity formation. The artist playfully speculates on the terminology the next generation will be using to define their identity.

Themes: complexity of identity formation, motherhood, mapping one’s ethnicity, cultural reference to ‘cafe au lait’ or the way terminology reflects societal articulation of migration, rooting oneself. Reference to Jackie Kay’s poem.

“ (…) There was a moment when
my whole face changed into a map,
and the stranger on the train
located even the name
of my village in Nigeria
in the lower part of my jaw. (…)”

Jackie Kay, Pride, from the collection “Off Colour” published in 1998 by Bloodaxe Books, ISBN 1 85224 420 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Compass show at the Royal Geographical Society, 6 May – 2 July 2010

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