Galatea takes its name from the statue that transforms into a living woman in Greek mythology. For this project 6 artists have created a new performance piece based on and performed around a public statue in London. The performance videos will be shown as part of The Every Woman Biennial in Copeland Gallery Peckham, 1-10 July.
Galatea is produced and curated by Queer Art Projects in partnership with Every Woman Biennial and funded by Arts Council England.
Atlantic Cruises: A Rest Stop, Ebun Sodipo, 2021
Ebun Sodipo’s performance “Atlantic Cruises: A Rest Stop”, was centered around the Queen Anne Statue at St Paul’s Churchyard.
As we roamed around the heart of empire we came across a possible story, one out of many, of an encounter between a Lascar sailor, drunk on rage, love, and the swill of 18th Century London, and a young statue, white and cool, node of an enormous tangle of history.
Enchanted by the failings that nature gave the female heart, InXestuous Sisters, 2021
InXestuous Sisters’ (Niya B & Giulia Casalini) performance is inspired by six statues in London that depict heterosexual couples.
One glorious Sunday morning, InXestuous Sisters decided to go out for a brisk walk around the city of London. They found numerous sculptures depicting man-woman couples, but none of them representing female love, friendship or companionship. Inspired by the Ancient Greek myth of Galatea, they decided to become temporary statues themselves. In bringing to life each statue’s female half, their creations propose a sisterly wholeness by means of doubling up its own image. The title of the piece is inspired by Ovid’s telling of the myth, in which Pygmalion, “offended by the failings that nature gave the female heart,” sculpted his partner-to-be Galatea out of ivory. InXestuous Sisters are the least offended (but rather enchanted) by the possibility of the female failings, which they enflesh into monuments that are yet to come.
Monument Walk I and DEVIL KING FOREVER LOVER, Izzy Yon, 2021
Monument Walk I (2021) is a performance by artist and ‘new world popstar’ Izzy Yon. On June 1st 2021 they walked to three historic monuments in London dressed as one of their multiple alter-egos, Devil King. The walk started at Guards Memorial outside the House of Guards, then Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square and culminated at Victoria Monument outside Buckingham Palace.
In Trafalgar Square Yon’s Devil King stood on the highest plinth of Nelson’s Column facing towards the National Gallery and a crowd of unexpecting members of the public. There they sang a guttural rendition of an old Eastern European folk song followed by a section of Freddie Mercury’s pop classic, Bohemian Rhapsody. DEVIL KING FOREVER LOVER (2021) is a short film by Izzy Yon which documents their prior performance Monument Walk I (2021) in the form of a music video.
Istanbul Queer Art Collective
(Tuna Erdem and Seda Ergul), 2021
“A Sculpture for Mary Wollstonecraft” in Newington Green, was called “the most polarising art work of 2020” by the Guardian. Always against binaries, be it gender or pole, Istanbul Queer Art Collective wanted to complicate matters and multiply points of view, by reading Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, together with Jeanette Winterson’s FranKissStein, at Newington Green, in front of the sculpture in question. The resulting video “Mother of…” is a combination of sound art, performance documentation and graphic text. “Mother of…” is an intentionally overwhelming video, with a bombardment of audiovisual information that forces you to choose “sides” arbitrarily and feel frustrated for having to do so.
HEALING PROCESS (a part of)
Sakeema Peng Crook, 2021
Sakeema Peng Crook’s movement performance and the video that was based on this performance which is entitled “from this place: HEALING PROCESS (a part of)” is around and about the Churchill Monument at Parliament Square that was recently brought back into the open after a year inside a protective box that rendered it invisible.
The artist’s only statement about the work is:
“I just want to say thank you to the trees”
Untitled, SERAFINE1369, 2021
SERAFINE1369’s performance is centered around Cleopatra’s Needle on the Victoria Embankment:
The performance attempts to establish a connection, a dialogue with an object through the devotional practice of dancing.
The obelisk is a monolith, a 200 tonne single piece of rock that has seen more sunrises than I can conceive of. I wonder how many died in the process of its creation, in the storm of its movement…
There is a time capsule inside the pedestal on which the obelisk is mounted, it contains images of the 12 most attractive ladies of England from the year 1878; What is the role of worship within our relationships? What, or who, do you worship? What do we want to remain of our time here?
Time makes me small, and yet I can touch this time through the stone - does this time touch back? Does it speak? And if I listen, what does it say?
The writing says that this rock was gift, whose is it to give the gift of time, of the labour of honouring something or someone now forgotten, or alive under a new name. Sun, Moon...gods assume new names and persist. Time and weather, movements of god.
SERAFINE1369 (previously Last Yearz Interesting Negro) is the London based artist and dancer Jamila Johnson-Small. SERAFINE1369 works with dancing as a philosophical undertaking, a political project with ethical psycho-spiritual ramifications for being-in-the-world; dancing as intimate technology. Their work is informed by research into movement and dance as a tool for divination, decoding messages from an oracular body - on personal/structural/symptomatic/somatic/psychic levels - to be processed through the medium of choreography. Always thinking about the metabolic - impact and exchange through/in/as movement. Their shows are stage/dreamspace/battleground, decompositions, atmospheric landscapes created through the live unfolding of the tensions between things that produce meaning.
Heavy handed we crush the moment, Last Yearz Interesting Negro (now SERAFINE1369) by Katarzyna Perlak. Commissioned by Barbican 2019.
Ebun Sodipo works across film, performance, installation, sound, poetry and fiction, to devise new languages and tools with which to imagine and speak about the body and the past, specifically for future black trans people. Through an archival practice, they collage moving and still image, sound and text from social media to form rich, affective illustrations of contemporary black subjects living under the legacy of slavery and colonialism. In Sodipo’s performances, these video collages are combined with text, installation and movement, focusing more directly on the black trans-feminine body through their presence and narration of the projected images. Opacity and fragmentation are crucial strategies in their work, used to resist the enforced transparency of the colonised subject and their culture, and prioritise diasporic cartographies and references over western modes of knowledge production and subjectivity.
Illustrations for Libations, Attestations, Affirmations (rework in progress).
InXestuous Sisters like to look alike. Daughters of the rave, they exist at the rhythm of techno and baroque tunes that only they can hear. The ultimate sex dream, they might be the material projection of your own desire. Indulging in black cherry jams, pink-coloured garments, laces, whips and lipstick, they are the newly born decadence. When they grow up, they would like to be artists, but for the time being, they are just very femme.
InXestuous Sisters, Kiss Me at Queer Art(ists) Now, by Orlando Myxx, 2020.
Izzy Yon is an artist and writer who lives and works in London. Their large-scale live performances and installations are always BIG & RED, centring around themes of war, violence, empathy and joy. The artist draws from family histories of the break up of Yugoslavia, queer London subculture, generation X, psychotherapy, communism, fascism, nationalism, our man Titio, the Kardashians, pop princess Dua, forever God B, contemporary baroque painting, peers, friends, lovers, parents, fucking, and her forever life commitment: red.
Izzy & Archie Smith, Nikad Nije Dosta/Never Quite Enough, durational performance, (2017)
Istanbul Queer Art Collective
Istanbul Queer Art Collective was founded in 2012 to engage in live art, with a view that the documentation of performance is an art form in itself. The collective is currently based in London and is comprised of its two founding members Tuna Erdem and Seda Ergul, who are firm believers in what Jack Halberstam calls the “queer art of failure” and what Renate Lorenz calls “radical drag”. Their performances range from the durational to the intimate and can morph towards other forms like sound art or installation.
Istanbul Queer Art Collective, Green Knight, A Dragaptation, by Eda Sancakdar, 2017.
Sakeema Peng Crook
Sakeema Peng Crook is a London based dancer, artist and trans activist. Crook graduated from London Contemporary Dance School in 2015 with a First Class BA (Hons) in Contemporary Dance and has toured works by Shobana Jeyasingh, Fevered Sleep, Holly Blakey, Hubert Essakow, Alexander Whitley and Gandini Juggling to name a few. Sakeema also vogues and is a part of the London Ballroom Scene. She performed for Years and Years’ Pyramid Stage set at Glastonbury in 2019. She is one of the original dancers at Harpies Strip Club - Europe’s first LGBTQIA+ Strip Club. In 2019, Crook gave a talk at the Royal College of Art titled 'Navigating Space In A Non-cis Body’. Future projects include an ongoing collaboration with Keiken collective for Jerwood Space and a new creation with Holly Blakey.
The Reconstruction: A Visual Album, The Dissident by Nick Knight
SERAFINE1369 was previously working under the name Last Yearz Interesting Negro (2016-2020) and is the artist and dancer (++) Jamila Johnson-Small.
SERAFINE1369 works with dancing as a philosophical undertaking, a political project with ethical psycho-spiritual ramifications for being-in-the-world; dancing as intimate technology.
Their work is informed by research into movement and dance as a tool for divination, decoding messages from an oracular body – on personal/structural/symptomatic/somatic/psychic levels – to be processed through the medium of choreography. Always thinking about the metabolic – impact and exchange through/in/as movement. Their shows are stage/dreamspace/battleground, decompositions, atmospheric landscapes created through the live unfolding of the tensions between things that produce meaning.
SERAFINE1369 has a relational, cumulative and often collaborative practice, gathering and transmitting information through working in various constellations, at different scales and in different roles to build spaces for communing/attuning/communicating through dancing, performance, listening and conversation; spaces that might hold the complex, multiple and contradictory, spaces that consider movement and transformation as inevitable, working to be unsettling situations of non-dominance.
They have presented work at ICA (London, 2018), Silencio (Paris, 2019), Transmediale (Berlin, 2019), Barbican (London, 2019), MDT (Stockholm, 2020), Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2018), CA2M (Madrid, 2020), Café Oto (London, 2019), Sophiensaele (Berlin, 2017 & 2019), Mousonturm (Frankfurt, 2018), Fierce (Birmingham, 2017), Performatik (Brussels, 2018), La Chappelle (Montreal, 2020), Rhubarb festival (Toronto, 2020), Nuit Blanche (Paris, 2018), Baltic Circle (Helsinki, 2017), The Garden Museum (London, 2018), Tramway (Glasgow, 2018), BOZAR (Brussels, 2018) amongst others. Usually based in London they were Torchlight Artist at Siobhan Davies Studios from 2019 - 2021, won the Arts Foundation Futures Award for Visual Art in 2019 and are due to be in residence at Gropius Bau, Berlin for 2021 (if and when they can get there).