This exhibition explores the importance of self-esteem as a force in influencing the way we relate to the people around us, and how we feel about ourselves. Self-worth becomes the vision of ourselves, the mirror that reflects the way we think others see us.
Curated by Dazed’s Arts & Culture Editor Ashleigh Kane, Am I Making Sense? promotes the search for our own identity, values and lifestyle alongside our cultural traditions, attitudes and authenticity, all surrounded by the idea of positive thinking as an unstoppable power.
In the third of a series of collaborative events with shoe brand Melissa, the exhibition brings together three artists, including Shon Faye, Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee and Ruth Ossai (in collaboration with Ibrahim Kamara), to probe an affirmation of what is personal to them. Am I Making Sense? is born from the need to fill up the emptiness and confusion found in everyday life and to inspire and empower others to join this positive thought. Showing photography, film, set design and “subtle sensory elements”, the exhibition, which opens its doors to the public on Friday 3rd November, promises to immerse us into each artist’s fight and struggle to find their own identity. All artists have been chosen for their unique perspectives and their ability, through their art, to undo stereotyping.
In a statement, curator Kane explains how she was initially drawn to “working with each artist because while their output, aesthetics and execution are different, their works are centred in identity.” However, she says it is how each artist “fearlessly embraces alternative perspectives informed by their diverse experiences” and their “desire to push representation forward” that helped build this exhibition.
“I really wanted to ensure we had a range of voices included in this show”, Kane explains. “Identity is a fragile notion to a lot of us, and many of us also struggle with the concept of self-love or self-acceptance. I’ve seen first-hand how alternative voices can empower the people who have long been silenced by the mainstream; those struggling with mental health issues, LGBTQ people, and non-white communities, to name a few.”
Ruth Ossai – Vanessa Ohenlen, Yasmine Atta, Fadekemi Ogunsanya, Josiane Pozi, Ejatu Shaw, Funmi Lijadu
Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee – model Kelly
Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee – Azura
Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee
“By working with each of these artists, I hope to reach people who might be experiencing those feelings or questioning their own sense of self. We know our heads can be a scary place, but the idea of working with affirmations is the notion that that same mind can also be an important tool to help steer things in another, more positive, direction. I’ve never underestimated the power of positive thought and hope that through these artists being brave enough to tap into their own insecurities about their identities and turning them into moments of strength, other people can relate, and ultimately do so too.”
The message Kane hopes we will take away from this exhibition is that our thoughts matter. Thoughts create feelings; feelings create actions; actions inform life. Don’t be afraid of them.
Am I Making Sense? open to the public at London’s Hoxton Arches on Friday, November 3rd, 2017.