Bread and Roses, Exhibition at Fehily Contemporary,Melbourne, Australia
June 19, 2012 §
Kymia Nawabi, We Carry The Wait (2012) [detail] acrylic, glitter and watercolor on paper, 183cm x 92cm
Barbara Walker, Untitled (2006) digital mixed media, 81 x 106cm
Kymia Nawabi / Barbara Walker, Bread and Roses
Loft Gallery – 21 June – 14 July
Bread and Roses is an exhibition of reclamation. In its most straightforward sense, the two artists, Kymia Nawabi and Barbara Walker, are recasting narratives under their own personal interpretations. But the other definition of ‘reclaim’ applies here too: Nawabi and Walker are restoring these narratives to proper use, turning barren wastelands into fertile ground.
First-generation Iranian-American Kymia Nawabi borrows from different cultures and mythologies to form a unique vision of death and spirituality. The watercolour figures in her works are splayed and contorted, as though borne down by the explosions of acrylic and glitter that surround them. These explosions are Nawabi’s motley portrait of a soul – a multicoloured, multicultural flurry of what may remain when a body expires.
Birmingham-based Barbara Walker’s work is a response to racial profiling in England, where her son has been repeatedly stopped in the street by police on account of his skin colour. Scrawling over police reports and newspaper articles with figurative portraits of her son, Walker leaves these cold bureacratic snippets with a reminder of the human face they overlooked. While these works are a forceful political statement, they also remain deeply personal, standing as a mother’s tender defence of her child.