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ONLINE Talk: Ancestry and Materiality

Friday, 26 November 2021
1 – 2.30 pm
Join artist-curator Yas Lime in discussion with Nyugen Smith and Tanoa Sasraku - both artists who use fabric, sculpture and collage to explore their ancestry. Expect questions on material, endangered craft and contemporary art which focuses on as well as perverts western tradition.

This talk is part of the programme for Yas' exhibition Woven Tongue. You can visit the show in the second gallery of Eastside Projects until the 4 December 2021.

Artist Biographies.

Tanoa Sasraku (b. 1995) examines the intersections of her identity as a bi-racial, gay woman raised in Plymouth (UK). Her practice shifts between sculpture, drawing and filmmaking, juxtaposing and performing British, Black, Ghanaian and queer cultural histories.

Sasraku’s appliquéd, newsprint works are inspired by the visual and material structure of the Fante Asafo war flags of coastal Ghana, which the artist’s paternal ancestors fabricated in resistance to British colonial rule. Her own flags map personal stories of a life lived in modern Britain, as classroom materials are fused together to create cryptic, ceremonial objects.

In her practice as a filmmaker, Sasraku engages in queer, black retellings of traditional folklore, as well as producing more diaristic journeys through her past, via the medium of analogue film. The presence of her figure, set against the sublime, British landscape throws into question ideas of “deep” England and what it means to claim ownership over the rural.

Tanoa Sasraku is based in London, England. She graduated from the BA Fine Art course at Goldsmiths College in 2018 and will be commencing her studies at the Royal Academy Schools in 2021.

Nyugen E. Smith (USA, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago) is a first-generation Caribbean-American interdisciplinary artist based in Jersey City, NJ. Through performance, found object sculpture, mixed media drawing, painting, video, photo and writing, Nyugen deepens his knowledge of historical and present-day conditions of Black African descendants in the diaspora. Trauma, spiritual practices, language, violence, memory, architecture, landscape and climate change are primary concerns in his practice.

Nyugen holds a BA, Fine Art from Seton Hall University and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been presented at the Museum of Latin American Art, Peréz Art Museum, Museum of Cultural History, Norway, Nordic Black Theater, Norway, Newark Museum, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, among others. Nyugen is the recipient of the Leonore Annenberg Performing and Visual Arts Fund, Franklin Furnace Fund, Dr. Doris Derby Award, and Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant.