Tuesday 5 Mar 2024 to Saturday 27 Apr 2024
In this, her first solo exhibition, Usha dapur Kar communicates the profound impact of institutional racism in the workplace on a woman of colour.
Through a series of 30 paintings Usha explores the specific dissonance experienced when this occurs in the not-for-profit sector. She looks through the dual prism of a prolonged and intense episode of racism in her personal lived experience, framing the period when her mother died during lockdown, and COCo’s research on the topic (summarized in a diagram The “Problem” Woman of Colour in the Workplace).
Reflection on these particular events led Usha to interrogate, reconsider and reinterpret much of her previous working life, indeed, to revisit relationships outside of the workplace. Working in a supportive community arts setting where the power of art as a tool for communication and dialogue was manifest energised her to progress with this series. Her paintings use repeated motifs to narrate painful experiences and complex emotions that are by no means unique or obsolete: people of colour of all ages have recounted their similar experiences.
Usha presents this intersectional feminist work as Artivism, creating an opportunity for listening, reflection and discussion – an intention to deepen understanding, raise awareness and inform action. Ultimately, she presents a challenge to numerous not-for-profit institutions: to respond with extended humility, care and attention, to embrace feedback, and to mature beyond defensiveness, dry legalese and policy responses. In short, to change.
Ferocious Grace signals the immense inner strength required to survive and flourish in the face of such experiences. The embedded myth of endless resilience. This is about touching the bottom, learning – in the darkness – to grow, to draw on the gifts of ancestry and self-knowledge, until, eventually, the light flows back in.