Session two: exchange
In its second iteration Future Assembly takes the form of a two-way exchange between Simnikiwe Buhlungu (SA) and Michaela Yearwood-Dan (UK).
Michaela Yearwood-Dan, a contemporary British artist born in South London in 1994. Completing her BA in Fine Art Painting at the University of Brighton, before residing back in London, Yearwood-Dan often depicts a variety of topics based on observations of society and self. Her works tend to explore themes of class, culture/race, gender and nature and in later more current works love, loss and reflection all whilst remaining playful, personal and vibrant.
Working predominantly with paint and collage, Yearwood-Dan's art is habitually thick and sumptuous with references to both the origins of traditional Fine Art and pop culture. Yearwood-Dan’s work heavily focuses on method and technique, often borrowing and adapting traits from western, Japanese and Chinese historical painting and craft.
In her most recent body of work she started experimenting with technology with her series “Love Letters to Siri,” exploring its connection to feelings and art practices. In these works, the artist reaches into places of vulnerability drawing inspiration from the diary style musings that bombard her iPhone ‘notes’. Relaying buried feelings of confusion, hate, loss, love and hope relating to pivotal moments and times in her life they are embedded within a stereotypically feminine palate alongside erratic mark makings and botanical suggestions. At the end of each piece, the artists would also ask a personal question to Siri, Apple's virtual assistant, as an associate to the work. These recent works have been built up in layers emulating the artists focus on collage and have a composed visual language with is tethered to the idea of repetitive human behaviours, ritual and tradition.
Michaela Yearwood-Dan’s work is in continuous metamorphosis as it is highly expressive and dependent on her own identity, vision and philosophy of life, as a young British artist. ’
Simnikiwe Buhlungu (b.1995) is a Johannesburg-based artist, having obtained her BA (Fine Art) degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Her work has existed in a variety of forms though a number of exhibitions and spaces.
Through print and text based mediums and often taking form of sensory, video and installation based forms, her interest in navigating through the personal, experience, trans-generational and socio-historical narratives presents itself as a complex web of [re]imagined engagements surrounding, but not exclusive to, issues surrounding the positionality of the aforementioned lived experiences in relation to language and knowledge production(s) - which are [un]written, [un]spoken, [un]heard, made [in]visible. Her practice begins to develop into conversation between posing questions - not quite attempting to provide answers - to the ideas with which she is wrestling.
She is one of the members of the Johannesburg based collective, Title in Transgression. Recent projects through the collective include Mangolo, which was presented at the I’m not Who You think I’m not #10 public programme at the 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art.
She has participated in international residencies, namely the WIELS residency programme in Brussels, Belgium (2018) and the Future Assembly residency between London and Cambridge (UK) and Lagos (Nigeria) (2019).
Buhlungu also engages with publications - their production and dissemination - in conversation with her practice.
Future Assembly Session Two: Exchange features as part of Africa/UK: Transforming Art Ecologies, a project by New Art Exchange (NAE). Supported by NAE, Arts Council England, and the associate partners VANSA and Wysing Arts Centre.