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Green Light in the City

Laced at New Art Exchange

23 November 21 words: Katie Lyle

New Art Exchange are currently presenting their autumn show, Laced: In Search of What Connects Us, a network of artists linked to curator Loren Hansi Gordon through shared connections to Africa and its diasporas...

Loren Hansi Gordon is a writer and curator fascinated by things that connect us as humans. Between 2016 and 2020 Loren founded and ran Future Assembly, an international residency for early career artists and she has worked on key projects at the Stuart Hall Foundation, Wysing Art Centre, Tate and the Showroom. 

As a temporary stitchwork to hold together a set of ideas, impressions and connections, Gordon began the curatorial process by developing a poetic text to guide the selection and commissioning of works and her research has culminated in a rich web of interconnections that offer viewers a glimpse into the multiplicity of female diasporic experience. 

An immersive group exhibition of painting, photography, video, sound, textiles and drawing, Laced is experienced as a visual landscape of vivid colours, deep-ocean waters and lush tropical vegetation that is at moments contemplative, poignant and empowering.

These visual motifs are core elements in the practice of celebrated painter Michaela Yearwood-Dan as well as that of emerging multimedia artist Rahima Gambo and Zohra Opoku, whose practice brings together photography, screen printing and textiles. 

Ogunji’s wider practice interrogates the thresholds between public and private space and the experiences of women in the public sphere is a recurring theme in Laced, particularly the everyday action of walking. Opening to the public at a time when we are again reminded of the repeated threats to women’s freedom to move around freely, Laced invites us to consider whether we are truly at liberty if we still feel fear.

The featured artists are all skilful makers, profoundly invested in the process, materials and physicality of making art and interested in the burdens of physical and emotional labour placed on women across societies, particularly women of colour, as well as the role technology and the internet play in producing new forms of labour. 

While foregrounding the work of contemporary African artists, the exhibition issues an invitation to viewers to reflect upon shared human experiences that transcend categories of gender and geography and which have been fundamentally up-turned, questioned and negotiated anew in this pandemic era. A powerful and wide-ranging exhibition, Laced is a meditation on the threads that connect us to ourselves and each other. 

There is also a writing event, Catharsis: Readings on Love and Ecology, taking place on Thursday 25 November featuring Laced artist Michaela Yearwood-Dan, alongside Khaya Job from Femme Fatale Gals. And don’t miss the conscious dance experience, Libert_é on Sat 11 December with DJ and poet J.Müller who will guide you through a musical journey of dance, allowing the free movement of your body's kind of expression to move through your feelings.

You can find out more about the show on the New Art Exchange website.

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