In October 2019 198 CAL launched the inaugural Women of Colour Art Award. The bi-annual art award recognizes the inequities and additional barriers that Women of Colour systemically face in their practice as visual artists. It aims to provide financial and developmental support to assist UK based artists and artist collectives of all ages at a key point in their career.
Participating artists for the second iteration of the WOCAA Exhibition were selected via open call, with all applications reviewed by a judging panel consisting of Marlene Smith, Julia Forson and Amal Khalaf.
Rebecca Bellantoni (b.1981) is a London-based artist who draws from everyday occurrences and abstracts them. Investigating, through the layered lens of Black women’s writing (fiction and nonfiction), metaphysics, comparative theology, philosophy, religion and spirituality and the aesthetics of them; she gently prises apart the concept of the accepted/expected ‘real’ and the experiential ‘real’; looking at how these removed borders may offer meditative experiences and portals to self, collective reasoning and healing thought and action.
Bellantoni’s current research and making project C.R.Y: Concrete Regenerative Yearnings, thinks about the city, its multiple worlds, its materials (industrial and natural), in relation to the psyche, soul and body of the city dweller. Her research is inspired by Katherine McKittrick’s idea of Black women’s geography, created through the negotiations of space, place and lived experience and Edouard Glissant’s writing on the role of the landscape and built environment on the psyche and cultural production of a colonised people. Her practice is wide ranging and encompasses moving image, installation, performance, photography, textiles, printmaking, sculpture, sound-text and ceramics.
Recent works have been presented at/with In the house of my love, Brent Biennial (London, UK, 2022); Frieze live (London, UK, 2021); Aggregates, Ausstellungsraum Klingental (Switzerland, 2021); Coalition of Care, PUBLICs (Helsinki, Finland, 2019); La Manutention, Palais de Tokyo (Paris, France, 2019; in collaboration with Rowdy SS).
Jessica Ashman is a multi-disciplinary artist working in painting, animation, music, performance and installation. A graduate from the Royal College of Art (MA Animation 2014), Ashman combines drawn, collage and multi-plane animation techniques with painting and film projection to create frenetic, textured and abstract narratives that explore gender, identity and race. Ashman is particularly interested in concepts of ‘the personal archive’ as a social political force, drawing on the wider stories of the Black British diaspora communities she was raised in and the histories lost or hidden in said communities. Black radical feminist theory and science fiction literature are also a heavy influence on Ashman’s work, where she seeks to connect concepts of future utopias with the histories of her ancestors and lived experience. Soundscapes, music and performances are an intrinsic part of her practice, with Ashman often using oral testimonies, discordant riffs, reverbed ambience, layered harmonies and poetry as part of her sonic world-building. She aims to create transformative aural spaces that complement the animated and painted universes she inhabits. She is a BAFTA in Scotland (2011) award winning animator and has been supported by Focal Point Gallery, New Art Exchange, Animate Projects, Jerwood Visual Arts Bursary, Arts Council England and the Arts Foundation Futures Awards. Ashman also engages in arts education, teaching her practice at Goldsmiths and facilitating arts workshops at South London Gallery and Tate Modern.
Tamara Al-Mashouk is a visual artist and organiser who incorporates strategies of hosting, art making and live performance across a range of multi-disciplinary projects. Through multi-channel video, performance and architectural installation, her work explores the movement of people, negotiating the relationship between belonging, memory and collective histories.
Arianna Cheung is a video artist and multidisciplinary designer who works predominantly with moving images, photography, and sounds, revolving around the everyday and quotidian aspects, reconstructing the familiar into the realms of intimacy and absurdity as visual poetry.
Based on the present and current questions in a societal context, documentation and conversations are enfolded in the process, surrounding how each individual grasps and senses a certain topic, issue, or question. Drawing imageries from and rearranging narrated materials as fragments, gradually forming a non-linear structure to interrogate viewers’ understandings through simultaneous experiences and experimental multimedia techniques.
Tyreis Holder is an Artist, Poet, Visual Storyteller and community arts practitioner from South London, with heritage reigning from Jamaican/St Vincent. She works heavily in mediums pertaining to installation, textiles, performance, poetry, sculpture and sound. Her practice centres around explorations of self, identity politics, generational/ancestral healing, spirituality, and the relationship with the mind, particularly within regards to navigating colonial spaces. Primary grounds for exploration pertain to how textiles pose as poetic language, functioning as a healing device- specifically in regard to trauma experienced by black women. Bringing lived experiences into her practice, she aims to generate conversations around how social and intimate spaces are shaped through race, diffability*, community, heritage, class, sexuality and culture. Poetry translates into garments, installations pose as poetry pages. *She interchanges the word disability with diffability and disabled with diffable. The word disabled implies lack, ‘dis’ deriving from latin meaning ‘not’. The constant reminder of lack can have a negative psychological impact. Words have weight. However, through difference, you can find power. She has coined the terms diffabiliity and diffabled – deriving from differ-bility and differ-abled, but has chosen a phonetic spelling approach drawing from the structure of patois.
Shamica Ruddock is an artist-researcher often found working between sound and moving image. Through sound Shamica considers the ways Black diasporas are engaged and presented. Shamica has been particularly interested in how black technosonic production functions as a form of speculation, narrativising and worldmaking. Black temporality, dispossession and Marronage are also important points of departure. Through film Shamica explores Afro-Caribbean puppetry, masquerade, and oral folk storytelling traditions.
Previous screenings include Abandon Normal Devices (UK), The Horse Hospital (UK) and Bertha DocHouse (UK) . Group presentations include the Barbican (UK), Tate Britain Lates (UK), and New Contemporaries (UK). Solo shows include Treasure Hill Artist Village (TW) and South London Gallery (UK). Shamica has held residencies with Somerset House Studios, and is currently an Eccles Centre Visiting Fellow at the British Library researching Maroon sound cultures.
Joyce Treasure is a multidisciplinary artist based in London. She graduated with a BA Hons (First Class) in Black Studies from Birmingham City University in 2020. She explores how changing climates affect bodies, places, and well-being by intersecting politics, care, and satire. Transforming an assemblage of objects and images into allegories of experiences, she cuts between collage, sculpture, painting, drawings, performance, film and speculative writing. More at home making than writing, her process often begins with a free-form approach, inspired by acquiring various objects from charity shops that serve as catalysts.