Above: Starngers by Joy Yamusangie
Since 2014, NOW Gallery in Greenwich Peninsula has established itself as London’s go-to destination for discovering new talent and showcasing cutting-edge installations by some of the most exciting names in art, design and fashion including Yinka Ilori, Manjit Thapp, Nicholas Daley and Molly Goddard.
On 24 March, the gallery is delighted to present NOW Gallery’s Young Artist Commission of 2022 by British visual artist Joy Yamusangie. Titled Feeling Good, Yamusangie will transform the space into a fictional jazz club showcasing a series of paintings on paper and fabric, inspired by the ephemeral conversations and moments inside the club. A symbol of gender euphoria, Feeling Good speaks specifically to Yamusangie’s own experience with understanding and celebrating their trans identity and journey with learning music.
Yamusangie’s profoundly autobiographical practice amalgamates bold colours with vibrant self portraiture that functions as a distinct act of self appreciation. Family, memory and community sit at the core of the artist’s practice and Yamusangie uses these elements to explore Congolese diaspora from a highly personal perspective. The artist’s exploration of race, identity and representation stem from a place of intimacy as they investigate socio-political issues within the microcosm of their own community.
Above: Smoking Area 2 by Joy Yamusangie
Yamusangie’s multifaceted practice experiments with a range of traditional processes such as drawing, film, painting and collaging to produce mixed media pieces. Their previous projects have included a public art installation commissioned by Tate Collectives, the London Borough of Culture award and the cover for the 2021 Penguin edition of C. L. R. James’ Minty Alley. Joy’s work was also selected for the 2021 RA Summer Show. Joy has collaborated with a number of influential brands including Paul Smith and Gucci.
Joy Yamusangie says: “This imaginary club became a vision for me, a space that symbolised gender euphoria and speaks specifically to my own experience with understanding and celebrating my trans identity and my journey with learning music. I was inspired by the main character in the book Trumpet by Jackie Kay which I later learnt was based on the real life story of musician Billy Tipton. Thinking of how music, specifically Jazz, allowed both the fictional character and the real musician Billy to find a home for themselves.”
NOW Gallery Curator Kaia Charles says: “The appeal of this exhibition is the subtle dialogue between Yamusangie’s artworks, jazz notes and the vivid, fictional spaces these elements inhabit. The work beautifully chronicles the artist’s personal journey, whilst creating truly emotive spaces that will resonate broadly.”
Exhibition dates – 24 March – 5 June 2022
Private view – 23 March 2022
NOW Gallery at Greenwich Peninsula