Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other

Autograph, London, United Kingdom
23 Sep 2021 - 12 Feb 2021

Othello De'Souza-Hartley, from Absence (triptych). From the commission Blind, but I can See

Othello De'Souza-Hartley, from Absence (triptych). From the commission Blind, but I can See

As we face the emotional, physical, economic, psychosocial and other consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and consider new ways of being in this time of global crisis, the notion of community and care is more pertinent than ever.

Located as the symbolic bond between care and community, the word ‘contagion’ – its original meaning being ‘together’, and ‘to touch’ – evokes images of close contact, as well as ideas of potential exposure and transmission. What are the new implications of touch, of close relationships between the self and the other, or the lack thereof in a time of isolation and separation? How might we be better together as a community in the future? How to protect those who risk their lives in their commitment to care for others, working on multiple frontlines? What kinds of support structures might we need, to help us navigate such unprecedented times, both collectively and individually?

Autograph commissioned ten UK-based visual artists – Mohini Chandra, Poulomi Desai, Joy Gregory, Othello De’Souza-Hartley, Sonal Kantaria, Ope Lori, Dexter McLean, Karl Ohiri, Silvia Rosi and Aida Silvestri – to create new work responding to the wider contexts of Covid-19, looking closely at their immediate environments. The interdisciplinary artworks they produced represent thoughtful reflections on changing conditions of existence: generous invitations for us to think about what it means to be human and to care for one another. Using primarily photography and video, the artists reflect both carefully and critically – and often very personally – on the impact of the pandemic, exploring ideas of loss, family, home, belonging and diaspora while considering different lived experiences, and the inevitability of change. The diverse range of works created for Care | Contagion | Community —Self & Other include a conceptual equation for humanity; intricate visual diaries; photo-action-paintings highlighting the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on communities of colour and essential workers; performative self-portraits; and experimental imagery inoculated with mould and bacterial growth, metaphors for the economics of care and control.

The ten artists’ work will be brought together for the first time in this group exhibition at Autograph’s gallery in Hackney.

Curated by Renée Mussai, Mark Sealy and Bindi Vora.




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