Focus

Sultana

Pia Camil, Paul Maheke and Jesse Darling, H8

Courtesy of the artist and the gallery.

Courtesy of the artist and the gallery.

Sultana gallery presents the work of three artists exploring contemporary themes of body language, feminism and social marginality.

Pia Camil presents a textile work produced by assembling t-shirts bought in Iztapalapa, a market in Mexico famous for its precariousness, and made by the women of this district. Affected by the logos of American brands, they evoke the powerful cultural and economic domination of America. They are dyed in red, a colour with strong meaning in the Mexican tradition. The gaps and snags in the fabric evoke the ghosts of the bodies that wore these garments, leaving inanimate traces of their lived experience.

The desire for emancipation and acceptance of margins is at the heart of Paul Maheke's approach. His work is strongly imbued with dance and staging. In the three-screen video installation, I Lost Track of the Swarm (2016), Maheke departs into an improvised choreography where the individual is absorbed into his bodily essence. The work unfolds freely as a triptych. Caught between shadow and light, Maheke’s silhouette embodies the tension between the history of oppression and the future of freedom. With finesse and poetry, it gives substance to a subtle struggle towards the affirmation of black queer identities.

Jesse Darling, an artist who identifies themselves with the pronoun ‘they’, explores the theme of gender in their sculptures, which combine salvaged material with metalwork to create elegant and anthropomorphic structures.