An image of a woman stood in a bright, colourful yellow, sun-like costume in a front garden.

A Protest, A Celebration, A Mixed Message

25 Aug 2020

Who is performing and who has power? For this week's PAUSE, a mid-week moment to spend time with an artist's work in full, we share Rhea Storr's A Protest, A Celebration, A Mixed Message. The film considers how easy it is to represent oneself culturally as a Mixed race person in the UK.

The Yorkshire countryside serves as a backdrop for a carnival costume in which a costumed body stands in a motionless refusal. Contrary to Frantz Fanon's Black Skin, White Masks, the film asserts that ‘there is no fact of Blackness’, in this equally valid celebration of Black culture. The costume itself was made with the Rhea's uncle, who has for decades produced costumes for celebration in the Bahamas; the costume is a product of diaspora. 

Meanwhile, the film follows Harrison Bundey Mama Dread's Masqueraders at Leeds West Indian Carnival. Mama Dread's work often takes on political themes and we are transported into a Bacchanal protest as they portray the Windrush scandal. The film considers the ways in which Black bodies become visible, questioning ownership and appropriation of Black culture. Through forms of dress, uniform and costume, the film examines the way in which authority is claimed and power is subverted.

Super 16mm converted to digital / 12:00 min / 2018
Directed by Rhea Storr