Art News

the Dulwich Picture Gallery redefines the genre of landscape art – theartwolf

Monica de Miranda - Sun rise - detail - 2023

From 14 February to 2 June 2024, the Dulwich Picture Gallery presents “Soulscapes”, a major exhibition of landscape art that will expand and redefine the genre.

Source: Dulwich Picture Gallery · Image credit: Mónica de Miranda, Sun rise (detail), 2023, inkjet print on cotton paper. Courtesy of the artist and Sabrina Amrani Gallery, Madrid.

Featuring more than 30 contemporary works, it spans painting, photography, film, tapestry and collage from leading artists including Hurvin Anderson, Phoebe Boswell, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Kimathi Donkor, Isaac Julien, Marcia Michael, Mónica de Miranda and Alberta Whittle, as well as some of the most important emerging voices working today.

Soulscapes explores our connection with the world around us through the eyes of artists from the African Diaspora. It considers the power of landscape art and reflect on themes of belonging, memory, joy and transformation.

The exhibition opens by examining the theme of belonging in relation to the natural world and consider the varied ways we experience the land and how this relates to our sense of identity, connection and safety. Limestone Wall (2020), a large-scale painting by Hurvin Anderson, depicts the tropical foliage of Jamaica and explores the artist’s relationship to his ancestral homeland. In the series A Pleasant Land. J. Samuel Johnson, & The Spectre of Unrecognised Black Figures (2023), photographer Jermaine Francis considers the issues that arise out of interactions with our everyday environments, positioning the Black figure in rural settings to instigate conversations around power, identity and the history of the English Landscape.

Reflecting on landscapes and memory, the exhibition considers how artists have used the natural world to express personal histories. Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s lush multimedia piece, Cassava Garden (2015), layers images from fashion magazines, pictures of Nigerian pop stars, and samplings from family photo albums to represent a hybrid cultural identity. The Gallery’s mausoleum is home to a site-specific installation of Phoebe Boswell’s I Dream of a Home I Cannot Know (2019), a meditative video work created over the course of six years that documents daily life in Zanzibar, a place of deep connection for the artist.

Soulscapes celebrates the power of landscapes to evoke joy and pleasure, whether through the representation of personal experiences or through its expression in composition, colour and style. Paintings from Kimathi Donkor’s Idyl series (2016-2020) depict Black subjects free to be themselves within nature, hopeful visions that might be approached through the idea of Black Joy. Che Lovelace’s vibrant paintings, The Climber (2022) and Moonlight Searchers (2022), depict the flora, fauna, figures, landscapes and rituals of the Caribbean.

Finally, the exhibition explores the transformative power of nature to stimulate healing, renewal and wellbeing. Works by Alberta Whittle manifest self-compassion and collective care as key methods in battling anti-Blackness; Whittle invites viewers to interact with her work, and to imagine different futures. In Unforseen Journey of Self-Discovery (2020), a tapestry by Kimathi Mafafo, a woman emerges from a cocooned veil of white muslin, finding her way into the vibrant, colourful and healing space of the natural world.

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