Dimensions:3 : 57 minutes
Credit:Presented to the Contemporary Art Society, with the support of Bianca Roden, 2021/22
Ownership history:Purchased from Copperfield London Ltd by the Contemporary Art Society, with the support of Bianca Roden, September 2021; presented to The Atkinson, Southport, 2021
Alberta Whittle works with a variety of media including film, interactive installations, sculpture, collage, and performance, aiming to unsettle people from their positions of privilege and passivity into elicit collective care and compassion. She finds research an important part of her practice, drawing from trans-national sources which allows her to link narratives across the Atlantic. This has been shaped by seeing the difference in acknowledgment of the legacy of colonialism, and how some in the UK have the luxury of forgetting these histories, compared to those in the Caribbean and wider diaspora.
Mammmmmmmmywata presents life solutions(2016) is a video collage, with tongue-in-cheek humour and borrowed elements from self-help videos. The short film serves to remind us that active effort is needed to combat white hegemony. We are guided by an avatar based on ‘Mami Wata’, a creolised, mythological figure, who disrupts binary identities by personifying a culture of mixedness, rooted in both miscegenation and love.
Business as usual (2018) is a digital collage filled with phallic and yonic imagery, with a combination of natural forms and technological objects. The pineapple, orchids and diamonds symbolise wealth and luxury. Combined with the pose Whittle takes, it seems to tell us that we will reach liberty and decadence through emerging science and technology. When looking through an Afrofuturist lens, perhaps the audience is being told that freedom will be found among the stars after escaping the inequalities on Earth.
The two works were chosen because of the strong thematic links to the existing Fine Art collection at The Atkinson, which includes self-portraiture, mythic female deities, and watery beings such as sirens and mermaids. They also add to the representation of Black bodies in the Atkinson’s collection, which helps rectify a previous lack of representation and is important for staff and visitors alike.
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