Womanyfestations: The Beauty In Manipulation

29 April 2005 to 10 June 2005

Presenting work developed from her project Wo-manifestation, an exploration of her roots, Anissa-Jane investigated personal and collective experiences of cultural displacement and their effects. Her non-wearable garments made using materials such as brown paper, cocoa butter and hair express how people have been forced to change and adapt under societal pressures in their non-native surroundings.

In her hands, brown paper, a material more familiar used as packaging or as envelopes, becomes “a metaphor for [her] own brown skin.” Part of the message is a celebration of “the accomplishments of [her] forebears who have lived through and adapted to their changing social situation over the centuries.” While her personal standpoint is that of a British West Indian female, her work has a wider relevance: the works can hold meaning for any person who has been subjected to social forces and pressures that have necessitated changes in their way of being.

Anissa-Jane draws on fashion, theatre and popular culture for her methodology and presentation. Made by manipulating brown paper in different ways such as “twisting, crumpling, oiling, threading and staining,” her beautifully handcrafted theatrical and sculptural garments such as Wo-manifestation gain a life of their own, transcending boundaries and restrictions. The material has changed through these processes, but its original identity can still be perceived. There are also intriguing contrasts in the qualities of her work such as flexibility and fragility, strength and delicacy.