Art

Enam Gbewonyo – Nude Me/Under the Skin: Unveiling our stories: Artist tribute to “one Black NHS Nurse at a time”

  • Saturday, July 4, 2020
  • 17:00  17:30

Nude Me/Under the Skin is a tribute to the Black nurses of the NHS from the period of Windrush onwards whose voices and stories have gone unheard. It also ties to textile and performance artist Enam Gbewonyo’s practice, which explores the history of nude tights and how this intersects with the black woman – weaving in the story of Black NHS nurses who wore tights as part of their uniform. Through a public call out, photographs and anecdotes of these women will be collected and transformed into artworks that become the foundation of the live performance. Hosted in the artist’s home the performance sees the artist create a web of tights which becomes the protective nest through which stories of these Black women who gave so much of themselves to Britain, their community and family are told. By knitting their stories into the fabric of the tights it physically enacts the knitting of these stories into the fabric of history. And while the artwork made with tights is ephemeral the stories it absorbs will live with it and remain in any new works Enam creates with them. Further with the performance being recorded this real documentation becomes archival artefact ensuring their history is immortalised.


About the artist:
Textile and performance artist Enam Gbewonyo’s practice investigates identity, womanhood, and humanity. Advocating handcrafts, she uses processes like embroidery, knit, weave and print.

Gbewonyo has exhibited with the likes of: Carl Freedman Gallery, TAFETA and Bonhams. She has performed for Christie’s, Henry Moore Institute, at the 58th edition of Venice Biennale’s opening week and as part of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair’s Marrakech public programme. Her collaborative commission exploring Empire and the tea trade recently closed at Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

The performance holds particular countenance at this time of pandemic as once more Black and people of colour workers are overlooked in the praise to NHS workers. This performance recognises them and their stories which likely mirror that of their predecessors too. Book here.

Part of Unshut Festival

UnShut 2020 is opening doors for experimental and radical performance work. Hosting 12 performances over 3 days, including a world wide street clean, a revolution by postcard, an intimate performance in Animal Crossing and building a theatre from scratch.

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