Alumni Spotlight: Alberta Whittle's New Exhibition Relearns Hope in Times of Disaster

Alumni Spotlight: Alberta Whittle's New Exhibition Relearns Hope in Times of Disaster

Following an exciting announcement on her new gallery representation by Regen Projects, Glasgow-based G.A.S. Alumnus and celebrated multidisciplinary artist, Alberta Whittle will debut her first exhibition with the gallery on March 16, 2024. This comes following the conclusion of her residency at G.A.S. Foundation, alongside Elsa James and TK Smith. The work in this exhibition revisits her travels in Nigeria, some having begun while in residence at G.A.S. Lagos. Entitled Learning a New Punctuation for Hope in Times of Disaster, Alberta’s exhibition at Regen Projects exemplifies the artist’s interdisciplinary approach to cultivating community and care as an antidote to catastrophes, from ecological collapse to the legacy of anti-Blackness. The exhibition presents Lagareh – The Last Born, 2022 for the first time in North America beside a suite of new paintings and sculptural works. Blending tender portraiture with more abstract passages and symbols, Alberta’s paintings reflect her own lived and embodied experience and desire to cultivate moments of rest, reflection, and kinship with and for others.


Installation view of Alberta Whittle, Learning a New Punctuation for Hope in Times of Disaster, 2024. Photo: Evan Bedford, Courtesy Regen Projects.


Often built atop rich, jewellike grounds, her paintings capture both histories and memories, including Alberta’s recent time in Nigeria, walking the same paths traversed by enslaved peoples on their way to the West-African coast at Badagry, and observing rituals at the Osun-Osogbo sacred grove, home of the revered diety, Osun. Through watery fields and layered, sumptuous juxtapositions, the paintings intertwine these histories with portraits of friends, family memories, and photographs—as well as dreamscapes distinguished by coastal cues or lush flora. In dialogue with the writings of Christina Sharpe, especially her book In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, 2016, Alberta’s paintings recall Jean Rhys’s postcolonial novel Wide Sargasso Sea, 1966 and its haunted evocations of a Caribbean Gothic and Donald Rodney’s film Songs on Pain, Time and Light, 1995. Textiles, raffia, and other embellishments adorn the paintings, rhyming with similar organic, lacey, and inscriptive patterns internal to them. Wooden fretwork frames bounding the paintings allude to the ornamentation of many homes in Barbados. 


Alongside the exhibition, Alberta screens Lagareh — The Last Born, which debuted at the 2022 Venice Biennale. Through its geographic and emotional transit, the film carries viewers on a journey between past and present, aligning disparate and distinct geographies that allude to and index the ongoing devastation and legacy of the transatlantic trade in enslaved peoples and the systemic racism that still shapes contemporary life around the world. 


Alberta Whittle, Genealogies of Chosen Family (Traician Meikle), 2024. Photo: Evan Bedford, Courtesy Regen Projects




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