The Aesthetica Art Prize celebrates works that redefine the parameters of contemporary art. The shortlisted practitioners are at the forefront of global conversation. Projects reflect on social, environmental and political concerns – incorporating photography, painting, installation, sculpture and video to enliven discussion. This year’s Main Prize winner is filmmaker Rhea Storr. The trailblazing artist makes films, photographs and drawings which explore themes of representation and individuality. A Protest, A Celebration, A Mixed Message is concerned with the ability of 16mm film to speak about black and mixed-race identities.
Carnival has provided fertile ground on which to consider cultural representation, masquerade and the performance of black bodies. The longstanding Bahamian tradition of Junkanoo (a sort of carnival) is captured through bright, bold snapshots.The film features figures dressed in costumes and masquerade – moving across urban and natural environments. The piece contemplates the relationship between spectators and spectacle. Moments where images break down, meet resistance or are themselves resistive are highlighted. Images that deny access – fail to articulate what they present or do not tell the whole story – provide significant starting points. Storr organises the analogue film lab at not/nowhere, an artist workers’ co-operative run by people of colour.
The Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition is on show at York Art Gallery until 5 July. Find out more here.
Images: Rhea Storr, A Protest, A Celebration, A Mixed Message. Artist film, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.