Winter 2021/22 exhibitions at DCA galleries


6 December 2021

DCA are proud to present the opening of two new major exhibitions, At the shore, everything touches from Tako Taal, and ▷▥◉▻ from Rae-Yen Song on Sat 11 December. 

At the shore, everything touches is Tako Taal's first solo exhibition in a major UK institution. Taal’s work often considers the paradoxes of black subjectivities, and her artistic practice evokes cited, spectral and physical bodies to undermine history, destabilise images and disrupt ideas around identity. At stake in her work are the psychic structures of colonial relations and the question of how vivid they remain in the present.

At the shore, everything touches comprises a new film and accompanying collage, painting and archival materials based on familial photographs and documents belonging to the artist and relating to the changing nature of her family’s home in Juffureh, The Gambia. This village is renowned for its proximity to the British slave fort established on what was once known as James Island, now named Kunta Kinteh Island referencing the central protagonist in Alex Haley’s 1976 novel Roots.

Taal’s new body of work centres on this village – its geography, historical significance as a trade post and fort during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the ways in which its histories are used and instrumentalised in the present day. In this context, the artist looks to Juffureh as home, as a tourist site and as a point of departure for recent migrations.

“Making the exhibition is a process of collapsing all these timescales in this one location, my paternal home village, Juffureh, and being able to see where and how everything touches. ”

Tako Taal said: “At the shore, everything touches is the outcome of a project that has been in steady development for three or four years. I’m at once excited but also have this slightly sick feeling about sharing it with an audience. The exhibition centres on the writings and photographs of my father Seedy Taal who died in 1990. In some ways the exhibition feels like our combined life’s work as I have wanted to make work alongside him for a long time. Making the exhibition is a process of collapsing all these timescales in this one location, my paternal home village, Juffureh and being able to see where and how everything touches. Unlike a memorial, which is this static object in time and space, I want the exhibition at DCA to become a site where people feel like they can linger, gather together and share within a loss and a landscape."

▷▥◉▻, Glasgow-based artist Rae-Yen Song’s first solo exhibition in Scotland, is a new body of work across sculpture, installation, printmaking and video.
The exhibition gives viewers a glimpse of an alternate dimension, shaped according to the ancestral logics and imagined futures of Song’s family, which serves simultaneously as spectacle, memorial and refuge. Visitors will be granted access to a multi-sensory environment, a speculatively sacred space from a stubbornly uncertain point in time and space, which floats somewhere between history, memory and imagination.

Song’s work explores self-mythologising as a survival tactic: using fantasy to create a personal cultural language informed by autobiography, family stories, relationships and memories. Adopting this language as a tool for self-definition and imaginative resistance, the artist creates multidimensional, non-linear bodies of work that speak broadly and politically about race, gender, culture, identity and what it means to belong - or not.

Through this practice, Song uses lived experience as a starting point to reconstruct a sense of self uncoupled from cultural stereotypes and stigma based on gender and race. Using myth and fantasy, and actively rejecting Western narrative structures in favour of experimental forms, the work interrogates issues of diaspora and hybridity, in spaces created by the artist where cultural rules and social norms have been overturned. The cornerstones of familial connectedness - from storytelling to sibling dynamics to ancestral traces - sit at the heart of this project. Song’s works are always a form of personal activism where alternative realities are proposed and ownership over biographical narrative is reclaimed.

“I think of ▷▥◉▻ as a temple, built from memories, ancestral stories and family treasure to honour a distant but ongoing journey.”

Rae-Yen Song said: “I think of ▷▥◉▻ as a temple, built from memories, ancestral stories and family treasure to honour a distant but ongoing journey. It is a refuge. Guided by my mother’s tongue, this architecture is an enclave, a backdrop for an imagined dialogue with a long-departed grandfather. He was a being from another time and place, and my conversation with him addresses crossing, migration, loss, survival and labour.”

Beth Bate, Director of DCA said: "I’m delighted that DCA is presenting the first major exhibitions by two such remarkable and dynamic artists. These two deeply personal exhibitions share themes of family and personal history, and question the constructs of identity in a way that has significant universal resonance; at a time when the connected experience is at its most vital. We can’t wait to share these engaging and important exhibitions with our audiences.”

Eoin Dara, Head of Exhibitions at DCA said: “I believe Rae-Yen and Tako to be two of the most exceptional artists working in Scotland at the moment, and it’s been a real privilege working with them both over the last 18 months to develop these new bodies of work for DCA at a time when we are all still carefully working out how to reconnect with much of the world around us. These are exhibitions of slow emergence and deep connection, which will allow us and our audiences to gently move through the last weeks of 2021 into a more hopeful 2022.”

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