Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum: All my seven faces

Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, United States
12 Jul 2019 - 27 Oct 2019

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum 'Posse' (2018) signed, dated, and titled on back Pencil and acrylic on wood panel 40 x 50 cm 15 3/4 x 19 3/4 in (PSU 131) Photo: Copyright The Artist, Courtesy of Tiwani Contemporary

Botswana-born, Toronto-based artist, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum (b. 1980) is interested in the overlap between mythology and science. She uses video, animation, and avatars named Asme (“as me”) to explore surprising parallels across modern science and ancient texts.

All my seven faces will feature over 20 works including a new, large scale mural to create a re-imagining of her own life/timeline. By design, the exhibition will conjure a transformative space that evokes the impression of traveling through a tunnel. Visual nods to elements of Tswana home adornment traditions as well as sand embankments along the perimeter of the gallery where the walls meet the floor will heighten this sense of passage and location. The visitor’s journey through the exhibition culminates in a new mural on a grand-scale that responds to Zaha Hadid’s architecture like never before. The mural presents a pair of Asme in the midst of traditional housing leading into futuristic constructions and civilization, the overall shape of which forms an arch between where the artist is from and what the future holds. “Pamela’s work considers imagination as a radical, contemporary praxis, one which, through thought, enables radical alterity within a reality, often perceived as fixed and univocal,” says Valentine Umansky, CAC Curator of Lens-Based Arts. This mid-career survey will present the largest display of works by Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum to date, and will be accompanied by the launch of the first monograph devoted to the artist’s work.

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum (b. 1980, Mochudi, Botswana) is an artist, currently based out of Toronto, Canada and Johannesburg, South Africa, whose multidisciplinary work deals with recurring themes of nomadism, identity and human connection and alludes to mythology, geology and theories on the nature of the universe. Her drawings present narrative landscapes that are, at once, futuristic and ancient–shifting between representational and fantastical depictions of volcanic, subterranean, cosmological and precipitous landscapes. Sunstrum spent her childhood in different parts of Africa and southeast Asia. She received a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in International Studies with a concentration in Transnational Cultures in 2004 and an MFA from the Mt. Royal School of Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2007. She later lived in Baltimore Maryland as an artist in residence at the Baltimore Creative Alliance, while also teaching at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Sunstrum was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual Art & Art History of York University in 2017.



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