I've curated a special programme at Arnolfini gallery that invites visitors to explore how they feel through art? Here's why....
I grew up in the 1970’s on a tough council estate. I was the only girl in my family amongst a handful of black families on the estate. It didn’t pay to be too soft nor did it seem the time or place to reveal my inner complexities so my exterior and interior life were kept separate.
The times I remember being able to explore my emotional range was whilst watching movies, reading books and later at the theatre and galleries. My childhood became a cultural playground curated on one theme only - how the things I saw, read or heard made me feel. There were no teachers so I didn’t have to analyse nor was I told what to appreciate. My head was rarely engaged in the choice. I simply rifled through what was on offer and then let my body do the feeling.
Looking back, I now see how culture played a crucial part in my emotional development. Encountering these works allowed me to experience an emotional range that the outside world did not. I could safely travel the full terrain from fear to delight, rage to tenderness. I could take flights of fancy without fear of being mocked. And most importantly, I could better get to know parts of myself that lay beyond the limits of my presenting identity.