Kedisha Coakley

Kedisha Coakley’s work is a unique and timely expression of Black female identity. An Interconnected series of artworks using print, photography and sculpture, composed in the context of no fixed time, space, or influence to create, present a hybrid representation of Blackness that questions transparency, opacity and hypervisibility as a measure of acceptance. Process, hybridity, and materiality are important strands to her practice.

Work begins as apersonal investigation of self, childhood memories and the ritualistic practices in the lives of Black women, and what they signify universally in the world. The body of work is evoked as a response to some of these traditional practices, some of which are communicated non-verbally whilst others which are passed on religiously. Exploring social-historical stories and investigating ideas of home, memory, class, status, representation and cultural affiliations is very important.

Coakley’s work challenges stereotypes and often examines African Caribbean natural hair and its place in women’s lives. By working within the framework of a ‘social practice’ she brings the focus on marginalised aesthetic of African Caribbean women, and how art and imagery can changeperspectives, and a vehicle for important conversation and change. Using sculpture, photography and printmaking, Coakley’s work provokes the premise of history, race, culture and conventions of curation by reframing objects and cultural symbols. Aiming to revise traditional interpretations whilst encouraging viewers to reconsider social and historical narratives from a different perspective. Coakley’s methodology is to trust in visuals to communicate these ideas, in an attempt to unlock and better understand the meaning of objects through juxtaposition. Her aim is to raise inspiring and promising conversations between the artwork, often created unexpectedly, but that are essential thoughts and reflections by means of process, hybridity and materiality, which are all are the key themes running through her practice.

Susan Hiller’s expressions on materiality sum up Coakley’s feelings and approach in her practice and interpretation of truth to the material, she does not disguise the main element of the cultural materials themselves. This comes about through something essential in the initial material, making visible suppressed or expressed meanings by looking hard at what exists in the world of cultural objects, exploring the unconscious of culture, maintaining the integrity of their origins as a sign, where the possibility of meaning is framed and collaboratively, collectively, determined. Coakley is dedicated to using cultural materials as a starting point for timely and much needed conversations, and almost always uses materials from her own community.

“My ongoing work aims to create spaces which can be contextualise without explanation, either in traditional gallery settings, or in the public realm. I attempt to demonstrate that these are not an isolated place, but are, and need to be, an inclusive space for all, a place that is recognisable and familiar to diasporic decedents. My work provides a place of ownership and truth, a place of transparency, opacity and hypervisibility, It speaks of truth and creates exciting opportunities of thought by juxtaposing cultural objects and materials in a decolonised construct.”