Chelsea graduate's new exhibition explores what it means to be black in Essex
Elsa James is currently showing her first solo exhibition at Focal Point Gallery, Southend.
In ‘Othered in a region that has been historically Othered', the British African-Caribbean artist explores what it means to be black in Essex. She completed her BA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts in 2010.
On show is a new 3-part film installation and original sound works, alongside text and a new series of prints.
About the work
Elsa’s research revealed that historical oppression fit with her own experiences. This provided the basis of her new 3-part film which spans vast timelines. From the persecution of women as witches in the mid-17th century to a radical future vision of Essex via a transformative Caribbean Island ritual.
The exhibition includes a new sound work that echoes the experience of enslaved African people boarding the ships. As visitors pass from one gallery to the next, a soundtrack of crashing waves reminds them of the forced displacement of black people and their identity under the transatlantic slave trade.
A new screen-print series that focuses on the black male experience is also on show. There's also a large-scale neon work quoting David Lammy MP; 'I AM HERE BECAUSE YOU WERE THERE' when he addressed the House of Commons on the Windrush Scandal in 2018.