WOCI Reading Group with Joy Gregory 


Join Women of Colour Index Reading Group with Michelle Williams Gamaker and Samia Malik and guest contributor Joy Gregory who will talk about this unique archive that charts the emergence of women of colour artists during the 1980s and 1990s. For some of these individuals, the Index is the only written record of their work. This session will be focused on British artist Joy Gregory, who will discuss her current work and how the Index acts like a ‘time capsule’.

This event is part of Daylighting at the Welcome Collection, a four-day programme of events to challenge archives, change narratives and amplify new voices.

Full address: Reading Room on level 2, Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE

Event Date: Friday 19th October 2018
Time: 2.00pm – 3.30pm

Joy Gregory Bio
Born in England to Jamaican parents, Joy Gregory grew up in Buckinghamshire later studying at Buckinghamshire College of Higher Education, Manchester Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art. Since finishing college in 1986 her work has been exhibited all over the world, and featured in many biennales and festivals. Over the year she has received numerous awards for her practice including in 2002 a Fellowship from the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts.

Her usual medium is photography but she is an artist of ideas rather than material and was a short-listed artists for the Mary Seacole Memorial – a major sculpture Commission in London. Ranging from Still life and self portraiture in late 1980’s the work developed to include articles and accessories of dress, landscape – most especially sea and city-scape – portraits of others and more recently medicinal plants. Most importantly the different photographic processes are applied is a means of adding clarity to the ideas behind the work– 19th century cyanotype, for example, adds a dimension of time and suggests narrative structure. Often, as in Cinderella Story, where a pair of glamorous golden shoes finds itself in a variety of romantic cities, two subject strands will be pulled together in a delicately ironic or touching individual / universal experiences of life.

Joy Gregory’s work has been influenced by a combination of race, gender and aesthetics often reflecting on issues colonization and its effects on culture and identity politics. Underlying a variety of themes are explorations of beauty, gender, memory and place, and the issues of control and power in relation to constructed narratives of femininity, race and place. She is known for her work around issues of ‘beauty’ and the impact of the European colonial project on the everyday lives of ‘ordinary people’ in the contemporary world. Since 2003, Gregory has been working on the issue of language endangerment, The first of this series of related works was realised as the short film, Gomera, which premiered at the 2010 Sydney Biennale. The second of these works focuses on a small community based in the southern Kalahari whose experience of language loss echoes that of in Indigenous peoples around the globe. Their language N|u narrated through the lives of two sisters Keis & |Una and the experiences of their descendents.

Joy was a shortlisted artist for the UK General Election Artist Commission of 2015 and participated in the g 57th Venice Biennale 2017 as part of the Diaspora Pavillion. Examples of her work are featured in private and public major collections around the world including Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia, and Yale University, New Haven. She lives and works in London, UK most recently teaching at Slade and Camberwell College of Art.

Workshop reading text:

“DO YOU HAVE ANY OCCASIONS WHERE IT ACTUALLY AFFECTS YOU BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE PUT THEIR OWN PREJUDICES ONTO YOU? Yes I do because people expect me to behave in a certain way which is why so much ATTENTION WAS DRAWN TO THE WAY THAT I was working at college because I wasn’t going out and photographing people in their environment so I wasn’t going my lot for the 4% of this country and I was in such a wonderful position to do it and to actually bring it all to light but it would have been really noble of me to do that but I’m selfish and I just wanted to get on with my work and left alone. It’s like typecasting and its a self fulfilling prophecy while people see that Black people may take better pictures of the Black community so they assume we must take pictures of the black community but they can take pictures of any community they choose.” Polareyes, Issue No 1, 1987

* photocopies of the extended version of this text will be available during the session

WOCI Reading Group
The Women of Colour Index (WOCI) Reading Group was set up in October 2016 by artists, Samia Malik, Michelle Williams Gamaker and Rehana Zaman. The WOCI Reading Group aims to improve visibility for women of colour artists whilst using archive material to generate discussion and practice around current social and political concerns.

The reading group meets on a monthly basis to discuss work within the Women of Colour Index (WOCI); a unique collection of slides and papers collated by artist Rita Keegan that chart the emergence of Women of Colour artists during the ‘critical decades’ of the 1980s and 1990s. Reading group sessions aim to improve the visibility of women of colour artists whilst using material in the archive to generate discussion, thought and practice around current social and political concerns. All people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities, disabilities, religions and race are welcome.

To book tickets please visit Welcome Collection Webpage: https://wellcomecollection.org/events/W5e6oSYAACMAMpqA

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