24 June, 2013Issue 22.5AfricaVisual ArtsWorld Politics

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Reweaving the Eternal Circle

Ré Phillips

Reweaving the Eternal Circle: Transnational Semiotics of Peace, Hope and Resistance
Mary Ogilvie Art Gallery, St Anne’s College, Oxford
17 to 30 June 2013

“Reweaving the Eternal Circle: Transnational Semiotics of Peace, Hope and Resistance” is the first solo exhibition by Ré Phillips. An internationally recognised visual and performing artist, Phillips curated the exhibition with the intent of contextualising the body of work she has been cultivating in the two years that she has studied in Oxford as a postgraduate. Having recently participated in a group exhibition in Barcelona through the Global Art Agency, she explains that, “viewers found my work disruptive and I could tell that they wanted to not only make sense of my work, but primarily to understand my relationship to the work I produce. Consequently, I decided that for this solo exhibition I would build the theme around the process of how my multinodal identity as an African-American Christian woman, when met with transnational experiences in Ethiopia, India, and Palestine, leads me to produce work with an undercurrent of the key themes of peace, non-violence, resistance, hope, and struggle.”

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The opening night on 16 June featured East African music, traditional Ethiopian food catered by Lula Kinnaird, a talk by the artist, and an open dialogue moderated by Clarissa Pabi and Asil Sidahmed. The discussion highlighted ideas including the overtone of Afro-futurism in Phillips’s work; the political economy of sourcing arts materials; double consciousness; and the dialectical praxis of struggle and privilege.

Ré Phillips is reading for a Master’s in International Development at Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford. Her ethnographic work explores the culture and aesthetics of the global African diaspora, Kushite and Abyssinian symbolism, Abrahamic religious semiotics, collisions in Afro-Asia, and symbols of faith and peace in transnational contexts. She has exhibited her artwork in New Delhi, Barcelona, Oxford, Atlanta, and Palo Alto.

The exhibition is open daily between 10am and 6pm. All pieces are for sale. For more information about the artist, visit www.jrphillips.me or www.facebook.com/jrphillipsart.