GSA POC Society @ Multiple Glasgow Galleries
For one weekend, the Glasgow School of Art People of Colour Society installed In Residence across multiple Glasgow art venues, including 16 Nicholson Street, The Pipe Factory and The Market Gallery.
In the first show by The Glasgow School of Art People of Colour (POC) Society, ‘In Residence’ took place over a weekend at three venues – The Pipe Factory, 16 Nicholson Street and The Market Gallery. Altogether, 50 artists participated in the show, with works ranging from sculptures, video work, painting, performances, talks and workshops with a self-published POC guide providing a directory of POC-run or POC-friendly spaces from healthcare, restaurants, supermarkets to clubs and online audio.
Visiting the Pipe Factory on their opening night, in a corner there is Ashanti Harris, as she quietly performs, sitting on a chair, purposefully pressing a sheet of wire mesh to her face. As the outlines of her face forms, she flattens the sheet before remoulding it to her face again. Her repetitive actions are powerfully nuanced and affecting.
On an opposite corner of the space, a flat-screen television on the floor shows a video by Christian Noelle Charles. This work is a confident self-portrait with video clips of Charles dancing, going through daily activities, explaining the meaning of her name, as she repeats through the video the word, ‘HONEY, HONEY, HONEY’. Nina Mdwaba, in her raw spoken word piece, speaks of her lived experience as a black woman, her relationship with a man who can’t click and of self-love and care. The two artists find a way of reclaiming language and agency in self-representation through these works.
One of the highlights of the night is the performance by Angel Ng and Nene Camara, as they appear with flower petals stuck to their faces, a tender variant to beards. Their movements strong, deliberate and coordinated, paired with powerful music beats define the space. The night ends with a DJ set by Sarra Wild (OH141), Plantainchipps and Vatsu. Perhaps if instituting change comes in small ways, this show is a bold statement by creatives of colour in art institutions across Glasgow to mobilise and create spaces that are able to define their own artistic identity. [Elaine Ang]