Thursday, September 5, 2013

AMSTERDAM: Stacey Tyrell

Stacey Tyrell, Backra Bluid (Bonnie, 35 yrs. and  Twins Lara and Maisie, 9 yrs.), 2011, Archival Epson print,  40 x 30 inches.
Image via © Stacey Tyrell.
Backra Bluid
September 7 – October 19, 2013

Postjesweg 6-8
1027 EA Amsterdam
the Netherlands

Gallery Cultural Speech is proud to present the first solo exhibition by the Canadian photographer Stacey Tyrell in The Netherlands. Backra Bluid will be opened in the presence of the artist on September 7 at 18:00.

‘Backra’ is Caribbean slang, referring to ‘white master’ or ‘white person’. ‘Bluid’ is the Scottish word for blood and skin. As a black child attending a predominantly white school, Tyrell would find herself confronted with the proudly proclaimed Scottish, Irish and English heritage of her classmates. Whenever she mentions her own family ties with England, she is often met with uncomfortable looks. Her background reminds white people above all of the legacy of slavery. 

In Backra Bluid, Tyrell portraits herself as a white woman. Dressed up as a bored schoolgirl or as a rich lady, covered in fur with diamond earrings, Tyrell demonstrates that black and white people are really not so different. Apart from the color of their skin, that is.

The series The Great White Hope, also on view at Gallery Cultural Speech, shows beauty products with names as ‘Fair and Lovely’ and ‘White Beauty’. These pots, powders and tubes are supposed to whiten the skin. Tyrell: ‘Through their use it seems that any previous self-hating and self-doubt can be simply lightened or erased.’

Stacey Tyrell (1978 Toronto, Canada), studied photography at the Ontario College of Art and Design. In 2012 lash Forward chose her as one of the top Emerging Photographers in Canada. That same year she was granted the Ontario Arts Council Emerging Artist Grant.

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