This multimedia installation consists of three main components film, performance and sculpture which, together explore topics such as migration, cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation.
The work adopts documentary style connotations presenting a series of genuine accounts given by my grandfather and my aunt,both sharing their stories of when they first came to the UK.
They discuss what it was like for black people living in Britain at that time and how that differs to now.
This is juxtaposed with performative and abstract elements, my intentions here being to place real life experiences and brute fact together with a modernistic and institutionalised representation of culture.
Coupled with a series of investigations titled yam studies, here I have taken yam, a vegetable native to Afro-Caribbean culture and experimented with appropriating its status through various channels.
The use of the yam presents a kind of ‘ethnic insiderism”, a type of inside joke where this staple food has been appropriated and institutionalised to fit a modernistic aesthetic.
The yam is now a personified being that is far more than a vegetable; it has a greater identity that can be seen as a symbol of Black British History.
My series of ‘yam sculptures’ were presented outside and feature in the film as well as the performance.
They stand as a direct reference to culture acting as appropriated and modernised forms, which symbolise the dilution and adaptation but also the yearning to up keep cultural traditions.
The performance involves participants walking around the sculptures in everyday clothing merged with african fabrics, symbolising this constant cultural diffusion.
The work has been nominated for the 2016 platform prize and will be shown at Modern Art Oxford between the 15th August -5th September