This article has been written with the support of Sotheby's.
Sekai Machache: 'As artists we have the space to consciously create new narratives that can catalyse a process of healing'
- Katherine Ka Yi Liu
- 27 February 2020
Dundee-based multi-disciplinary artist chats to artist and curator Katherine Ka Yi Liu about her upcoming shows at Glasgow International
Katherine Ka Yi Liu: Can you tell me a bit more about both of your shows at Glasgow International 2020?
Sekai Machache: So, I am taking part in a two-person solo at the Heritage Centre at House for an Art Lover with Thulani Rachia. My solo, The Divine Sky, is going to be curated … by yourself, haha.
KL: Yes, yes, I am, haha … can you maybe use a few words to describe the show?
SM: The Divine Sky will utilise allegory and performance to tell a complicated history through poesis, immersive storytelling and photography.
KL: I am so looking forward to seeing the work!
SM: Thanks! And for the solo at Street Level, it is called Body of Land. The exhibition is the culmination of a year-long cross-cultural residency project. I am collaborating with a Kenyan artist, Awuor Onyango, to produce a two-person solo reflecting on black femme identity, ancestry and spirituality.
KL: Fantastic, can't wait. So what inspires you for both of these Gi2020 projects?
SM: Both of the shows are related to specific colours. Colour is a very important element in my practice. In Body of Land, the theme colours of the exhibition are black, red and white with each colour representing an aspect of the self/soul. This is derived from a concept that you find in many cultures including the Luo tribe from western Kenya who believe that the human soul is split into three. This concept is comparable in my understanding to Freud's concept of the mind which is split into the id, ego and superego. Another example could be the three gunas in Hinduism. I try to find connections and/or similarities across cultures and describe them through my images.
KL: I am so touched by the spirituality elements in the show.
SM: Thank you! Yes, both shows are linked to certain healing modalities. I am currently researching the role of pre-colonial African spiritual practices in the emancipation of enslaved and colonised people across the African diaspora. My deepest concern is in describing on some level the effects of racialisation on the psyche of African and African descendant people. In the solo at House for An Art Lover, The Divine Sky, my selected colour is blue. I'm really interested in the ancient indigo dyeing processes across West Africa. There are 12 stages in the indigo dyeing process of Mali and the darkest blues that can be produced are called The Divine Sky. I've been researching the work of multi-disciplinary artist and designer Aboubakar Fonana who also sees his work as a form of spiritual practice and has inspired the title of the show.