LADA is delighted to announce that the first Black Artist in Residence is Madinah Farhannah Thompson.
Launched in March 2023, the Study Room Residencies for Black Scholars and Artists aim to expand LADA’s Study Room resources and introduce our audiences and communities to artists and scholars from the Global Majority.
Madinah Farhannah Thompson is a visual artist and writer, whose work investigates Black British experiences. She is particularly enraged by the misrepresentation of the Black female body and the projections which are placed on individuals – namely the extreme polarities imposed on Black women, where they are expected to be both a hyper-visible Jezebel and the invisible mammy figure at one time. Her work is research and text led and incorporates poetry, performance, memory and film.
Most recently she has been examining how Black people exist in rural spaces in the UK and how people are often alienated or isolated when they exist in these environments. She grew up in Norfolk and is concerned with how you can feel attached to a land that in turn rejects you. This work has been profiled by Hibaq Farah in a recent Guardian article. Within her performances she often places herself as an object, to consider ideas of fetishisation. What does it mean, on a day-to-day basis, to exist within a context of objectification?
Madinah’s work often looks at intergenerational healing for example her work Myrene where she plaited a constellation of materials, rubbing them with fragrant caster oil accompanied by an audio recording of a conversation between her father and her grandmother. This was an investigation into actions which are fundamental to the nurturing of Black women, such as sitting between a maternal figures knees and having your hair cainrowed, or having your skin creamed after a bath. These actions are repeated infinitesimally during Black peoples lives, connecting us to our ancestry and continuing legacy.
Her current project Call When You Reach is made up of performance, collage and film and investigates the impact of trauma and how this leads to a disconnection from the physical body. Madinah is determined through her work to heal herself and others. She embraces the slur of the angry Black woman and uses her practice to try and navigate a world that does not make space for her.
Madinah studied at The Cass School of Art receiving the Owen Riley prize for best in show for her BA final show performance No Black Girls Sorry. She completed her MA at Goldsmiths University where her final show film Saliva & Tears/ Underneath You went on to win the 2020 Ingram Collection Young Contemporary Talent Prize. Madinah has had residencies at the Venice Biennale, Hestercombe House and Gardens and the Cob x Plop residency in London. She has exhibited and performed at The Mall Galleries, Wellcome Collection and Camden People’s Theatre. She has been published in Social Work?: Open, Shades of Noir and on the British Council Website and her work has been featured in The Guardian and Art Monthly.
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