Art of Change Exhibition - Group Show of Women Artists from around the Commonwealth
Being one of the artists showing work, the launch was an opportunity to meet with some of the other artists and see their art up front. Works ranged from the photographic and painterly portraiture of Phyllis Dupuy (Canada) and Danielle Devaux (St Lucia) with her informal portraits of St Lucian Poet Laureate, Derek Walcott to a sculpture/bust ‘Trinidad Rose’ celebrating popular Trinidad singer, Calypso Rose by Sherlann Peters. A large work conveyed the physical and psychological landscape in the form of Lynn Parotti’s (Bahamas) ‘Haitian Migrant Worker Cleaning Flip-Flops’ Inagua, Bahamas’. The rich culture of Fiji is present in decorative motifs by Josie Navavia Crick in vibrant colours, while the flora and fauna of Guyanese jungles are applied in watercolour by Shirley Felts. We all enjoyed the flamboyance and adornment of Rajasthani women in Runima Kakoty’s acrylics worked in rich reds and oranges - and still on the subject of clothing, Nigerian Yoruba traditions, are reflected in folk textile symbols in an acrylic work by Nike Davies Okundaye, portraying two maiden figures overlaid with delicate geometric veils that quote “our clothes are our closest friends”. Maryam Omar’s (Maldives) interpretations and nuances of nature’s frailty, abstract human physicality and women’s enablement employs the medium of coffee to join the acrylics and gouaches on her canvases entitled ‘The World’ and ‘Empowerment’.
Jennifer Lewis’ metaphorical ‘Full Moon’ a mixed media work. ”Full Moon represents the changes in the moon’s cycles and so the changes within ourselves…” This is a beautiful magnetic piece which I’m sure will continue to attract viewers’ attention - a serene countenance framed by headwrap and halo-like eclipse and swirls of rich colours.
The Seychelles, too, were represented by Christine Chetty’s ‘Nostalgia’ combining the craft of textile with fine art to speak on the perceptions of craft and women’s work. Art Education from a Western viewpoint is questioned and Marie Mai Marie’s striking watery hands and feet overlays, ‘Two Ends Meet’ reveal her graphic discipline.
Jacqueline Kibacha’s (Tanzania) ‘Visionary’ and Caroline Miyoba’s (Zambia) ’Looking into the Future’ in particular, share a mood of reflection and aspiration.
Anoma Wijewardene’s meditative paintings on the theme of the human relationship with the Earth, Sujeewa Kumari’s Frida Kahloesque surrealist influence focusing on Sri Lankan post-colonial dress and Sumudini Ekanayake’s black and white depiction of women’s equality and the need to break through the glass box of suppression. All three are diverse Sri Lankan artists.
As well as providing the exhibition with her canvas, gold-hued abstract ‘Docklands’, amiable Mia Anastasi Sammut (Malta), a keen photographer assisted in capturing the ambiance of the evening.
Exhibition runs until 5 August 2011. Visiting hours from 10am – 6pm, Monday to Friday.Groups must phone in advance on 020 77669200. The exhibition catalogue will be available on reception for a donation price.
The Royal Commonwealth Society, Commonwealth Club Gallery, 25 Northumberland Avenue, London WC2N 5AP.