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Solo Exhibition: Down the road

SAI Gallery, Tokyo

Shawanda Corbett’s works often draw from personal memories and experiences of growing up in the Southern state of Mississippi, with her ceramic works and paintings forming symbolic representations of then figures and people from her past. The forms of colour and lines that adorn these surfaces are informed by the personality of the people in her memories and the feelings they evoke within her, as well as the influence of the jazz music she listens to as she works.


For this exhibition, Corbett continues to draw inspiration from her past, with the exhibition title ‘Down the road’, making reference to the specific area and street where these figures resided 'Skip Avenue'. ‘Down the road’ is a common phrase that Corbett recalls she often heard voiced by the older African American members of her community, who would pronounce the words in their distinct Mississippi accent. The phrase itself is an ambiguous indication of direction that signifies neither up, down, left or right, but is instead a turn of phrase that holds significant memories and encapsulates the environment in which she grew up.

‘Skip Avenue’ is a place where you meet a lot of different characters. It’s not a neighbourhood, it's just a street and in that area you identify with the street you lived on. The works in the exhibition are representations of these characters and how I remember Them, their personality and how being around them made me feel. It is purely feeling. It is not imagining what they look like or how they dressed. For this, it was more about the memory of them. The different vessels, for example, are not consistently the same but are similar and not related to the other. For that it speaks more to the circumstances. For this specific work it is very women heavy and a specific type of male. It’s like depicting different tropes of womanhood, male-hood, childhood and what it means to be all those things.’

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