TRIBE by Sarah Cole with Amunet, Anukis, Ismat, Jayne-Louise, Lindsay, Louise, Kirsty, Molly, Nadia, Petula and Ruby.
The exhibition invites the audience to encounter a gallery of evocative possibility with freshly laid grass, melodic sounds and curious behaviours on display.
Emerging from meetings between artist Sarah Cole, those who attend the Young Women’s Group from Creative Arts & Music, Southwark Youth Service in partnership with Groundwork London and the group’s co-ordinators, the exhibition aims to act as a space in which to encounter the young women’s ideas of place, safety, language and disguise.
Once inside, the audience will find real turf underfoot, extending the outside environment into the gallery and creating a complex emotional landscape to enjoy amid beanbags and blankets. Visitors are invited to activate sounds, played both inside and outside of the gallery, derived from the specific language of the young women’s group, translated and transformed into music-box scores while on Saturdays there’s opportunity to come and play the TRIBE drum kit in the gallery.
On Tuesday 7th May at the opening event, there will be free ice-cream from a van parked in Peckham Square for those lucky enough to be allied temporarily to the young women’s TRIBE. These activities, alongside videos on show in the gallery, all offer a glimpse into the private space and sensibilities of the all-female group that might not otherwise be accessible to the outsider.
The Onesie Nation videos, featuring the young women themselves, were made as a result of discussions about their shared interest in the onesie – the all-in-one body suits worn by people of all ages that have become a fashion phenomenon in the past year. On their first meeting with Sarah, one of the young women commented that “you can’t terrorise someone in a onesie” and this idea of the all-in-one (and one for all) has underscored the development of this work, raising issues of personal autonomy and group solidarity.
TRIBE draws upon the cultural references of popular children’s stories, the dark promise of traditional fairytales and contemporary perspectives on individualism and ideas of ‘community’. This project has also been enabled by the artist drawing upon her own ‘tribe’ of artists to help articulate some of the findings of the work. This includes Talya Baldwin who has drawn the title images for the work, Annis Joslin with whom the Onesie Nation videos have been made and composer Isa Suarez who has created the soundtracks of the young women’s group words and phrases, which can be played and heard through the Buckingham Palace audio-sign designed and constructed by Alex Wilson.