Artist Mugisha Emmanuel

32400 €

SPLINTERS (working title)

Taiteellinen työ / siihen pohjautuva työ | Yksivuotinen

With a 1-year grant awarded by the Kone Foundation, I will explore wood craft traditional techniques from a queer black "drag" perspective. The idea originates from the Ballroom culture, a scene of trans, gay, non-binary -mostly of color- using homemade outfits and performances informed by stereotypes, gender roles, and social classes. When I began making costumes designs for my drag artist friends, I realised the implications of textile work in relation to creating a space for them to perform as themselves, or reimagine themselves. I felt there was an important story to tell about their lives, many of whom often struggle with overlapping invisibilities, racism and violence. This has led me to wonder: how could I explore with other material the transformative power of art in spaces where no one looks like me, like us? The objective of SPLINTERS is to adapt woodcarving, which mostly comes from cis-white masculine culture, to challenge established heteronormative societal ideals of capitalism. The title comes from early 14c meaning of a "flexible slip of wood". One goal is to make pendants and brooches adornments, which queer bodies under stress will be the wearers and carriers of. The theme of the “wounds”of the wood will be treated as a metaphor to explore the un-ending nature of living with trauma in a society that disavows one’s authentic self if not conventional. The process of carving, coopering, refining will keep the wound open, against the expectation of “closure” or “resolution”. Another goal will be to create sculptures carrying "resistance" of the wood further by occupying spaces that are usually overlooked - corners, borders, and edges - in order to defy what is conventionally expected.I will host a series of interchangeable exhibitions, holding performances with worn jewellery in art spaces and exhibiting sculptures in ball rooms. My hope is to claim queerness in a system that wasn’t made with me in mind, and propose an alternative path.