Due to the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to present Tanoa Sasraku: O’ Pierrot as an online exhibition until 1 May. Visit Online Exhibition: Tanoa Sasraku: O’ Pierrot to view two films featured in the exhibition.
LUX is delighted to present a solo exhibition by London-based artist Tanoa Sasraku, featuring a moving image work O’ Pierrot, as part of our exhibition series. Employing the narrative of Pierrot the Clown, and the aesthetic of Kenneth Anger’s pioneering avant-garde, queer film Rabbit’s Moon, O’ Pierrot explores the quest for British identity from a lesbian, mixed-race, British perspective.
The life goal of Pierrot Mulatto (played by the artist) is to catch a giant sycamore seed that spins down every day from the arms of Harlequin Jack, a crazed black man in whiteface, driven mad by his own quest for British acceptance. Jack toys with Pierrot throughout the story, performing a satirical essence of white British sensibility whilst referencing early minstrel troupes’ caricatures of the post-slavery, black populace. Mixed-race Pierrot is encouraged to strive for her ‘white potential’ whilst battling rejection, rage, and the bending of time amidst the English countryside.
The story of the black, British experience: one driven by misplaced loyalty, melancholy, and historical reprise stands as a mirror to the traditional tale of Pierrot’s existence under Harlequin’s thumb. This forms the narrative pillar for Sasraku’s semi-autobiographical fairytale whilst the script is built upon a colliding of verses from the Jim Crow-era song ‘Jump Jim Crow’ and lesser-known passages from the British National Anthem.
O’ Pierrot emerges from Sasraku’s four months at Academy Costumes, in South-East London, as part of The New Flesh Artists’ Residency. Through the design and fabrication of her own costumes, set, and props, Sasraku engages in a re-telling of Rabbit’s Moon by Kenneth Anger. Costume drives the narrative of Sasraku’s silent fairy tale as the black, British grind enters the realm of the surreal.
The exhibition will include the film O’ Pierrot (2019) accompanied by original costumes created by the artist and Whop, Cawbaby (2018).
Reading List compiled by Tanoa Sasraku
The Triumph of Pierrot. Martin Green and John Swan (1993). Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press; Revised edition
Carl Van Vechten and the Harlem Renaissance. Emily Bernard (2012). New Haven and London: Yale University Press
Negroland. Margo Jefferson (2017). London: Granta Books; Paperback edition
Stone Butch Blues. Leslie Feinberg (1993). New York: Firebrand Books
Mi Revaleushanary Fren. Linton Kwesi Johnson (2006). Washington: Copper Canyon Press