The Goldsmiths Textile Collection and Constance Howard Gallery are pleased to announce that the winner of the Christine Risley Award 2019 is BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate Farrah Riley Gray. The judging panel was impressed by the quality of her degree show exhibit which combined aesthetics and politics in a carefully considered and expertly executed combination of textile and sound work.
Riley Gray's practice deals with misogynoir with a current focus on hair within black cultures. She is also interested in the rituals behind textiles and weaving, examining the way in which materials can convey relationships between culture, race and gendered product making, as well as their potential to hold diasporic stories absent from other historical or archival sources.
The textile work consists of a blanket constructed from handwoven squares of black hair. In the words of guest judge Dr Christine Checinska (Artist, Writer, Designer):
‘The textures, the techniques in crafting black hair, the subtle differences in colour from jet black to mahogany brown was a quiet statement in the ‘good hair/bad hair’ conundrum rooted in enslavement that black women are forced to navigate at an inner level before finding themselves’.
The intimacy of the blanket was paralleled by the spoken word quietly emanating from speakers placed either side of a bench from which to view the textile. Drawing on Farrah’s own daily experiences, the words document the experiences of many black women.
Farrah Riley-Gray's work will be on exhibition at the Constance Howard Gallery.