Artist of the Month
June 2018

Davinia-Ann Robinson

Our Artist of the Month for June 2018 is Davinia-Ann Robinson. 

Tell us a bit about yourself and your practice, how would you describe the work that you do?

I create installation pieces that explore the cultural palatability of the Black Female in Western Culture, using my personal experiences as a Black British Female as a starting point then developing concepts further through critical research into race and gender studies.

By experimenting with materials in my work, I find a fetish abject and grotesque quality juxtaposes with a fetish elegance and beauty, which comments on society's ideas of Black Women.

I enjoy manipulating materials often through the repetition of the same process over prolonged periods of time, yet keeping the materials close to their original and recognisable state. I find that by doing this I am able to place ideas of the Other onto the materials, which lends to the dichotomy of gender Female/Male and race Black/White in my work.

Davinia-Ann Robinson

Davinia-Ann Robinson, Feminine, 2018

Could you talk a bit more about cultural palatability and how your work explores this?

When developing language in-order to explain the thoughts behind my work the term cultural palatability came into use. The word palatability comes from the adjective 'palatable', often referring to food and drink with words such as 'appetising' and 'tasty' or as an action being 'acceptable, pleasing or satisfactory'. I found it naturally fitting to take this word, its connotations and apply it to the synopsis of the Black Female posing questions of her appetising, acceptable, and pleasing status within cultural discourse.

My work explores cultural palatability by creating abstract forms that represent me which intrigue and disgust, mesmerise and repulsive and are beautiful and abject. By concentrating on this push-pull action in my work I enable myself to question ideas of my status as a Black Female in Western Culture.

My Body Your Body Her Body

Davinia-Ann Robinson, My Body Your Body Her Body, 2018

You mention Black Lives Matter in your artist statement, could you speak a bit about how this movement has impacted your practice?

Black Lives Matter has given me confidence in publicly exploring my cultural palatability through my practice and provides me comfort and reassurance that experiences of the Other matter and can be seen, heard and discussed. The movement provided me with a context to develop enquiry about Black Women's daily experiences in my practice because Black Lives Matter had impacted and continues to impact on my idea of who I am and what I represent in a global society. The movement holds forth the importance of Black Women, Queer (which I identify), Trans, all along the gender spectrum, Disabled and Undocumented Black people and does not place the importance of cisgender males at its forefront by instead acknowledging the Other within a group of Others and places the importance of all Black people within a multicultural world.

Davinia-Ann Robinson, Self-Portrait

Davinia-Ann Robinson, Self-Portrait, 2018

Which artists working at the moment do you admire?

I am inspired by artists who speak using marginalised language in their work and during the last year I have been obsessed with Victoria Sin who uses drag, storytelling, personal experiences and science fiction as a way of commenting on experiences of gendered, sexed and raced bodies, through work exploring objectification, desire and identification and placing them centrefold in their work.

I admire Victoria Sin’s ability in taking charge of their femininity while performing gender and disrupting traditional gendered ideologies. Through drag Victoria Sin’s performances deconstruct gender while redirecting the audiences graze internally and forcing the audience to ask questions of their own ideas of gendered and raced identities.

What projects have you got coming up?

I am shortly releasing a series of prints that relate to my installation piece Naomi And The Others which will be available to own through my website.

I am also working on a exciting project called GLOBALX with Black* Artist On The Move which facilitates creative exchange between Black UK and Internationally-based artists. I am excited to be teamed with a hugely talented Boston-based musician and working on a audio installation.

Published June 2018

Davinia-Ann Robinson on Axisweb >