Artist Phoebe Boswell's 'The Lighthouse' was the second live performance soundscape of invited women collectively reading from their existing texts, alongside a screening of Ythlaf (2018)
The Lighthouse included a growing amorphous group of Boswell's peers: Alexandria Smith, Amahra Spence, Bolanle Tajudeen, Buitumelo Mushekwa, Bumi Thomas, Cindy Sissokho, Claudette Johnson, Jade Jackman, Jade Monserrat, Katherine Finerty, Leanne Ingram, Liv Wynter, Pamela Jikiemi, Marion Osieyo, Natalie Nzeyimana, Rasheeda Nalumoso, Ritika Biswas, Rianna Jade Parker, Ruth Sutoyé, Skye Tinevimbo Chirape, Zaahida Nabagereka, Zoé Whitley, and more.
This performance was a continuation of idea from Boswell's exhibition The Space Between Things at Autograph, London (2019). 'A life-altering series of events serve as the genesis for Kenyan-British artist Phoebe Boswell’s new work: an emotive interrogation of trauma, healing, and the poetics of endurance. Boswell’s multidisciplinary art practice is anchored to a restless state of diasporic consciousness. She creates layered, deeply immersive installations to centre and amplify histories which - like her own - are often systemically marginalised. In The Space Between Things, Boswell reflects on the rupture of her physical, spiritual, and emotional health. Using her art-making to explore a landscape of grief, she invites us to bear witness to a journey of recovery and possible renewal.
The Lighthouse was a part of The Showroom's live programme Collective Intimacy taking place within Theaster Gates's installation Black Image Corporation at 180 The Strand, London presented by Prada, The Vinyl Factory, and The Showroom. This second rendition of The Lighthouse' Collective Intimacy performance took place on Saturday 26 October 2019 with an extended group of women in the main space of Black Image Corporation, following an initial production on Thursday 3 October in an adjoining room during Prada Mode. It also included a special sonic finale led by singer Bumi Thomas - an invited intervention in the collaborative spirit of friendship.
Phoebe Boswell explores the sense of ‘belonging’ and is anchored to a restless state of diasporic consciousness, combining traditional drawing with digital technology. Her practice draws on her own experiences of belonging, having been born in Kenya and brought up in the Arabian Gulf; she now lives and works in London. Her work has been exhibited widely, including Tiwani Contemporary; Sundance Film Festivals, Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art 2015, and Biennale de l’Image en Mouvement 2016, amongst others. She received the Future Generation Art Prize's Special Prize in 2017, consequently exhibiting in the Collateral Events programme at the 57th Venice Biennale. Boswell will unveil a new large-scale public moving image work in Geneva and a solo exhibition at New Art Exchange, Nottingham - postponed opening dates until further notice considering the ongoing Covid-19 situation.
Images: Documentation of The Lighthouse performed at 180 The Strand, 26 October 2019. Courtesy of The Showroom
This programme took place within Theaster Gates's installation Black Image Corporation presented by Prada, The Vinyl Factory, and The Showroom. Collective Intimacy is inspired by Gates’s ethos of collaboration and The Showroom’s commitment to togetherness and communal knowledge, taking on multiple trans-located narratives of the current Black experience as a point of departure for a cosmopolitan worldview. In response to Gates’s reactivated spaces in Chicago and how his socially engaged projects enable communities to connect and grow, Collective Intimacy aimed to create a new space for people to gather, listen, converse, and contemplate amongst a fusion of art, design, music, and everyday life.
Black Image Corporation presented distinct spaces creating a myriad of possibilities for collective engagements, featuring an installation of Gates’s art objects, furnishings, and new films that capture the methodologies of urban renewal and community activation founding his practice. Pieces from Chicago imbued with powerful histories, uses, and localities resonated with distinctive lounge design from here in London – like a love letter between two cities, under the roof of a new House. Taking place at both 180 The Strand and The Showroom, Collective Intimacy hosted interdisciplinary interventions by artists, musicians, designers, writers, thinkers, collectives and members of the public, who were all invited to distort notions of selfhood and togetherness in the spirit of creating a global community.