On 20 January Joe Biden was sworn in with an appeal for unity that has never felt so important. ‘With unity we can do great things, important things,’ he said. But it was America’s 22-year-old National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, who stole the show, inspiring viewers around the world with her self-penned poem, The Hill We Climb. ‘I really wanted to use my words to be a point of unity and collaboration and togetherness,’ she told the BBC World Service’s Newshour programme.
In celebration of Biden’s inauguration, Zuleika Gallery in Oxfordshire is staging an IRL exhibition of work by Nicola Green, artist, social historian and co-founder of The Khadija Saye IntoArts Programme. The program, which aims to address the lack of diversity in the UK arts sector, made headlines last July as a community partner of new public art project Breath is Invisible in Notting Hill. Comprising three site-specific exhibitions, Breath is Invisible launched with a brilliant installation of works by Khadija Saye, the 24-year-old artist who tragically lost her life in the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.
In this exhibition, which is also being presented virtually, Green’s silkscreen prints are staged alongside two brand new works, Unity I and II, both of which were created in response to the 2020 presidential election.
Reproduced in red, white and blue, the design in these artworks comprises seven hands, enacting different gestures, united in a circle of light. For Green, it is a powerful example of how non-verbal gestures can embody and communicate messages. Of her two new works Green said on Instagram, ‘They’re a celebration of the democratic process, a commemoration of change, and a symbol of hope.’