Gherdai Hassell / Undercurrents: Colour and the Shifting Self

Gherdai Hassell presents a new body of work that explores the multifaceted nature of identity. The human experience is complex and this is represented by the intricate layers in Gherdai’s work. Gherdai’s work is shaped by a multitude of influences and experiences, often concealed beneath the surface, mirroring the depth and complexity of our identities.

Hassell intertwines themes of afrofuturism, feminism, sustainability, and fashion, employing the metaphor of the onion to symbolise the complex layers that compose identity. The layers on the eyes offer glimpses into postcolonial diasporic futures, envisioning new possibilities.  

The ocean, with its vastness and depth, provides a backdrop for contemplating the fluidity and expansive nature of identity. Within this context, the artist delves into the nuances of black femininity, celebrating strength, resilience, and unique narratives. The work represents diverse experiences and the power of unity in fostering a sense of belonging and collective transformation.   

Gherdai’s intention is to invite viewers into a dialogue about the creation of identity, urging us to contemplate the complexities and layers that shape individuals and collective understanding. Through the exploration of these themes and the metaphor of the onion, the artist aims to spark conversations about the possibilities for change, reimagine our future, embrace the importance of multiplicity within oneself and others, and collectively envision a world that celebrates diversity, inclusivity, and the power of artistic expression.

About Gherdai Hassell

Gherdai Hassell is a Bermudian born, China trained, multidisciplinary contemporary artist, and researcher based in Manchester, UK. Her work investigates memory and nostalgia to construct and deconstruct identity. Her work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions and biennials in Bermuda, USA, UK , Cuba, Mali, South Africa and China. Gherdai is a Graduate of the  China Academy of Art. She is a three time best of Bermuda Award -Visual Art recipient. The 2021 Women’s United Art Prize recipient. She is a 2022 Manchester Open Award winner, the 2021 Master works Museum’s Charman Prize winner for distinctive style.

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