Saturday 3 June, 1-1.30pm
Veolia Lecture Theatre, Level 2
After much discussion and taking into consideration people’s comments about the nature of the image chosen to represent her work, artist Cigdem Aydemir has made the decision to withdraw the work as it currently stands from the MCA’s Conversation Starters program.
Aydemir’s work referenced Kader Attia’s work Ghost currently on display in the MCA galleries, which comprises an installation of empty aluminium-foil casts of kneeling women in prayer. The artist has explained:
By making faces darker I am emulating the effect of shadow on the form, and commenting on this work by Attia. Where he seeks to suggest a presence, I seek to make that presence more palpable. It is about reimagining the women in his work and providing an alternative narrative.
I don’t subscribe to the essentialist view that black paint should never be applied to the face, just as I don’t believe that no one should put a piece of cloth on their head. I am opposed, however, to the imitation of Muslim women, just as I am opposed to the imitation of black people. I want to emphasise that this work does not intend to imitate, parody or make fun of black people in any way, shape or form. In stark contrast, it is black women writers and artists that have inspired me, given me voice and helped me to articulate the effects of racism and colonisation on the body and the self.
The MCA and the artist would like to apologize to anyone who found the image offensive.
The MCA exists to support and value contemporary art and artists. Artists address complex ideas and challenge our perceptions. The depth of response to the image supporting this new work means that the artist has felt compromised in what the work was attempting to address. In place of the performance we will be providing an opportunity to discuss the issues that this debate raises from different perspectives. This discussion will take place on Saturday 3 June at 1pm in the MCA Lecture Theatre, in presence of MCA staff and the artist, amongst others.
Image: Cigdem Aydemir performs at MCA ARTBAR April 2015 curated by Karen Therese. Photograph: Lucy Parakhina