Sameness and Difference, Subject and Society
A combination of strong visual engagement and conceptual clarity drew me to each of these works. Through their idiosyncratic use of repetition, these artists meditate on sameness and difference, the subject and society.
The identical figures of Cheong A Kang’s The One for The Whole, The Whole for The One parallel the repeated “you” of Min Kim’s Dear Daughter, constructed by the chorus of women contributors interpellated by the title, which is echoed by the doll-manufacturing simulations of Yu Shang’s The Factory of Beauty, which mimics the process of creating a Memoji, or an Instagram profile, or constructing a digital persona in any number of ways. Jamie Steedman’s recurring radio broadcast nods to notions of connection in a time of isolation and Xinwen Zhang’s mark-making reflects on the relationship between the body and its environment.
If we follow the path these motifs chart back to each artist’s framework, we find a shared interest into related themes, encompassing collectivism, (internalised) sexism, data in the age of post-truth, digital selfhood and generational identity. In the current moment, these works help us to contemplate the importance, role and expression of the self in relation to others.
Ifeanyi Awachie is a writer and curator. She has a B.A. in English and creative writing from Yale University and an M.A. in Global Creative and Cultural Industries from SOAS University of London. At SOAS, Ifeanyi wrote the dissertation, 'Listening to Nigerias in London: A Reflexive Space for the Présence Africaine in First-Generation African Art', exploring diasporic African identity and cultural production in screen media and popular music.
Ifeanyi is Founder, Director and Chief Curator of AFRICA SALON UK, a global contemporary African arts festival, and Assistant Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). She has curated a number of projects as a member of The Politics of Pleasure, a collective exploring
the ways in which Black women engage in pleasure as a politics of refusal. Recent projects include Weruzo Presents Sisi, a programme exploring conceptual Nigerian fashion, co-curated with designer and creative director Chinasa Chukwu.