We meet leading artist Michaela Yearwood-Dan to discuss her solo show The Sweetest Taboo, which runs until 26th April at Tiwani Contemporary, London. Recently the artist has been thinking about the priorities for affirming spaces of self and collective actualisation, specifically BIPOC and queer space(s), community needs and desires, that include her own.
Projected and inscribed upon the large-scale paintings, extracts of Yearwood-Dan’s experiences, influences, personal thoughts and questions commingle with abstracted and botanical gestures and marks that border, lead towards and give way to speculative clearings; spaces and gaps that have the capacity to be filled with utopic imaginings. The works remain vested in holding and debating the real-life politics and cultural demands of femme, black and queer individuals in the world coming together as communities, manifesting and nurturing critical, safe and joyous environments.
Drawing solely from her own experiences, throughout this body of work, the artist continues to explore the multifaceted nature of love through a theoretical and uncomplicated lense, whilst holding space for elements of humour and nostalgic glances. The Sweetest Taboo is a semi-immersive experience that migrates from the canvases into the space of the gallery, creating a topographic installation of ceramic sculptures and furniture that encourages visitors to contemplate, project and spur plans to dream potential spaces into existence.
Michaela Yearwood-Dan’s work reflects on subjectivity and individual identity as forms of self-determination. Whilst her work may be underpinned by an expansive and multivalent repertoire of cultural signifiers borrowing freely from blackness, healing rituals, flora, texting, acrylic-nails, gold-hoops, carnival culture, these reference points enable her to present and privilege the variance of her own individual experience. As such, her work refuses to be framed by narrow expectations of racial or gendered notions of collective identity and history. She defamiliarizes many of those reference points in her work resisting the clichés and strictures of representation.
To view images of her new solo show visit: https://www.tiwani.co.uk/exhibitions/68-michaela-yearwood-dan-the-sweetest-taboo/overview/
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