"sKIN is a traveling photography exhibition by Alia Aluma that questions the ways that we compartmentalize and separate the inherent intersectionalities of marginalized identities and bodies with expository softness. Featuring models of diverse genders and racial identities arranged in ways which remove their respective identities, Aluma’s photographic works critique the judgements faced by people of queer and racialized identities. Through the use of pure, transparent fabrics draped over their bodies, Aluma challenges the notion that marginalized identities are inherently uncomfortable or confusing, countering these judgement with gentle form and tender beauty – terms not often used to describe communities facing otherness."
sKIN began as a studio art project while I was studying at Newcastle University. The opportunity to act in my own studio space in the diverse Newcastle University art environment allowed me to try out a collection of different skills and techniques. While in England I experienced art communities unlike anything I had experienced before. Collections of creative people came together regularly and openly, letting imagination be the foremost important energy in any room. I was surrounded by art, contemporary to ancient, everywhere I went.
The idea for sKIN was born under the guidance of my studio mentor, Jen Douglas. However, my knowledge about art as it related to the body was influenced by my art course Fleshful Things, taught by the wonderful Professor Ed Juler. The concept for sKIN mutated into what it is today from the idea of creating a genderless garment. I have always had a keen fascination with textiles, embroidery, and clothing.
Growing up, I was always given handed down clothing, which meant that if I wanted something that looked a certain way, I would have to mend it myself. As a result, I taught myself to sew as a young child and made my first halloween costume well before my teen years. This interaction with material led me to develop an interesting relationship with clothing and comfort, feeling the need to cover my body fabrics. Often, this has been confused for insecurity. In reality, I enjoy using every inch of my canvas body to host woven textiles. I believe wearables speak for us. Just as the draping material speaks in this collection.
This work was created on display in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England 2019 and will make a Canadian Debut November 7 to 11 of the same year during the Femme Wave Festival in Calgary, Canada.
"Alia Aluma is a multi-media, black, feminist artist who channels her experiences from living in different countries into her art – focusing primarily on the different conversations around race, sexuality, and beauty around the globe. From Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Aluma moved to Calgary, Alberta to begin her studies in Art History. She has created works both as a painter and writer, being displayed and read in Canada and Rome. Primarily self-taught, Aluma has begun to gain ground as a Photographer and Digital artist, creating projects in Hong Kong, England, and Canada. Aluma’s first digital project to be displayed in Canada, sKin, was created while the artist was living in Northern England as a reflection on her varying experiences as a Black-Canadian woman and the social groups that she found herself navigating towards while living in North America, South East Asia, Africa, and Europe."
Femme Wave 2019