PROJECT SPACE | BLACK BIRDS | MY GYUL16 January 2021 — 7 March 2021
Image details: Black Birds, My Gyul, 2020, co-commissioned with Daata editions
The latest project in our ongoing partnership with innovative global platform Daata Editions presents a Cement Fondu X Daata Editions new commission video series by Sydney-based Black Birds titled My Gyul. The work launches as a video installation in our Project Space and features online via daata.art.
My Gyul is a set of three video works that peel back the painted, Westernised beauty of Grenada, looking at the island through the rose-coloured glasses of its colonisers – and without.
“My little Spice Isle, My Gyul, My Island, is dressed up in clothes that don’t quite fit,” writes Black Birds’ Artistic Director Ayeesha Ash, “Too neat, too heavy, too hot – but we wear them anyway, and we look good”.
The work is inspired by Ash’s own Caribbean heritage and considers the Caribbean identity ideal in comparison to Caribbean identity experience; “Being a mixed-race child of the diaspora brings a plethora of internal conflicts: do I look more Caribbean than I feel; what type of Black am I; am I too Black?; or not Black enough?”
In contrast to old archival footage that offers a mild taste of Grenada, the work looks at the island in its more recent, glamorous light and entrance to the beauty pageant scene. Ash explains; “We see that beauty has bloomed through oppression, a testament to Grenada and her people, taking our island from the Caribbean to the world stage, but at what cost?”
Highlighting Grenada’s well-recognized, beautiful women as well as what women have to do to look like them, My Gyul considers the toll of attempting to live up to cultural ideals. “Beauty is pain and My Gyul has plenty of both.”
Black Birds is a Sydney-based company which was founded in 2015 by Ayeesha Ash and Emele Ugavule. It is a response to the lack of representation and misrepresentation of Women of Colour in the Australian arts. Black Birds prides itself on making work that is intersectional, interdisciplinary and intercultural.
16 JANUARY – 7 MARCH
THURSDAY – SUNDAY