In the final episode of Living Archives, Alberta Whittle and Sekai Machache think together about freedom, urgency and slowness, their many collaborations, and their feelings about edges.
Conversation transcript available here. Listen to more episodes here.
Living Archives is an oral histories project co-produced by the Stuart Hall Foundation and the International Curators Forum. The project is made up of six intergenerational conversations. Each conversation considers an alternative history of contemporary Britain through the testimony of UK-based diasporic artists working between the 1980s and the present-day. The project will form, what Stuart Hall calls, a “living archive of the diaspora” which maps the development, endurance, and centrality of diasporic artistic production in Britain.
Hosted by ICF’s Deputy Artistic Director, Jessica Taylor, practitioners reflected on the reasons they became artists, the development of their practices, the different moments and movements they bore witness to, and the beautiful reasons they chose to be in conversation with each other.
Hosted by Jessica Taylor
Edited by Chris Browne
Designs by Yolande Mutale
Music by LOX
Alberta Whittle is an artist, researcher, and curator. Her creative practice prioritises questions of self-care and compassion, while considering the historic legacies and contemporary expressions of anti-blackness, colonialism and migration. She choreographs installations, using film, sculpture, and performance as site-specific artworks in public and private spaces.
After studying Fine Art at Edinburgh College of Art, she completed a Masters degree at Glasgow School of Art in 2011. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh and Research Associate at The University of Johannesburg in South Africa. Alberta received a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award in 2022, she also represented Scotland at the world’s largest international festival the 59th Venice Biennale. In 2020, she was awarded a Turner Bursary, the Frieze Artist Award and a Henry Moore Foundation Artist Award. She was the Margaret Tait Award winner for 2018-19.
Her extensive range of solo and group shows include amongst others a comprehensive solo show at the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh; Holburne Museum, Bath and the Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju (all 2023). Tate Britain, London; Fotografiska, New York; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Moderna Museet, Malmo and Kunsthall, Trondheim (all 2022). The Liverpool Biennale; The British Art Show, Art Night, London; Glasgow International (all 2021); Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2020); the 13th Havana Biennial, Cuba; GoMA, Glasgow and the City Arts Centre, Edinburgh (all 2019). The Showroom, London; National Art Gallery of the Bahamas; RAW Material, Dakar and FADA Gallery, Johannesburg (all 2018).
Her work has been acquired for the UK National Collections, The Scottish National Gallery Collections, Glasgow Museums Collections and The Contemporary Art Research Collection at Edinburgh College of Art amongst other private collections.
Sekai Machache (she/they) is a Zimbabwean-Scottish visual artist and curator based in Glasgow, Scotland. Her work is a deep interrogation of the notion of self, in which photography plays a crucial role in supporting an exploration of the historical and cultural imaginary.
Aspects of her photographic practice are formulated through digital studio-based compositions utilising body paint and muted lighting to create images that appear to emerge from darkness.
In recent works she expands to incorporate other media and approaches that can help to evoke that which is invisible and undocumented. She is interested in the relationship between spirituality, dreaming and the role of the artist in disseminating symbolic imagery to provide a space for healing against contexts of colonialism and loss.
Sekai is the recipient of the 2020 RSA Morton Award and is an artist in residence with the Talbot Rice Residency Programme 2021-2023.
Sekai works internationally and often collaboratively, for and with her community and is a founding and organising member of theYon Afro Collective (YAC)