In the third of a series of collaborative events as part of the newly formed Melissa Collective, Brazilian shoe brand Melissa is supporting Ashleigh Kane with her group exhibition, Am I Making Sense. Am I Making Sense brings together three artists, including Shon Faye, Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee, and Ruth Ossai & Ibrahim Kamara, to explore an affirmation that is personal to them.
The show focuses on coping mechanisms for the 21st century whereby young people have increasingly been turning towards spirituality to process feelings of self-worth, self-love and self-care. Affirmations and the power of positive thought have proved successful to many wishing to unlock our individual potential.
Ashleigh Kane explains: “I was drawn to working with each artist because while their output, aesthetics and execution are different, their works are centred by identity. Each fearlessly embraces alternative perspectives informed by their diverse experiences and desires to push representation forward. Whether that’s Shon’s brutally honest, dark humoured, narration of her life as a trans woman, Elizabeth dismantling stereotypes that surround Asian women, or Ruth and Ibrahim giving a voice to how West Africans living in Yorkshire are carving out new meanings of what it means to be British.”
Collectively the show will bring together photography, film, set design, and subtle sensory elements to immerse visitors into a celebration of each artist’s identity.
“I really wanted to ensure we had a range of voices included in this show. Identity is a fragile notion to a lot of us and many of us also struggle with the concept of self-love or self-acceptance. I’ve seen first-hand how alternative voices can empower the people who have long been silenced by the mainstream; those struggling with mental health issues, LGBTQ people, and non-white communities, to name a few.
“By working with each of these artists, I hope to reach people who might be experiencing those feelings or questioning their own sense of self. We know our heads can be a scary place, but the idea of working with affirmations is the notion that that same mind can also be an important tool to help steer things in another, more positive, direction. I’ve never underestimated the power of positive thought and hope that through these artists being brave enough to tap into their own insecurities about their identities and turning them into moments of strength, other people can relate, and ultimately do so too.”