FEATURED WORKS: Rebecca Bair, BFA '17
In my work, I make evident the strenuous relationship we have with our own identities - whether it be ethnic or individual. I seek to reveal the often ignored complexities of individuality - what we don’t always make available to others. My work explores the concept of the ‘self’ with regards to ‘identity’ - often inspired by recent events and contemporary issues that I can relate to, directly. My interest in the composition of the ‘self’ is not limited to physical attributes, but rather encompasses a creation of our own psychological environment - our own world if you will. Consequently, the spaces around us, our relationship to them both in space and in mind, have a profound influence on my work. This physical ‘self’ of ours, however, in many of my explorations, is constructed, changeable and subject to alteration because we get to create it, individually.
With the inspiration drawn from recent events, I have been moved to look inwards - my current interest explores the concept of hiding, covering or, repressing one's ‘self’. My more recent renditions bring to light a violent repression, a forced subduing of identity to accommodate the dominance of another.
Being a woman of mixed cultural backgrounds, I am often confronted with society’s pressure to ‘choose a side’. I am aware of my belonging to two ethnic groups and embrace both with conviction. However, I am also aware of the colour of my skin - which I embrace wholeheartedly - and the consequences of my physical appearance. I belong to a group of people whose oppression has been constant and violent for centuries. There is, however, a contemporary black movement to refuse to succumb to norms imposed on us and a motivation to break down barriers formerly used to isolate and inhibit us. My practice allows for me to demonstrate my experience and my interpretation of these issues as well as be part of a movement for change. - Rebecca Bair, 4th year