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Ye Olde Group Chat, 2023.

Commissioned by Simrath Panaser for Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. 

'In this collaged congregation Rosa mobilises en masse portraits of Balthazar from historic paintings, challenging the cultural marginality of Black people and the ways culture reproduces and fixes ideas of their representation. The centering of Balthazar, who is no longer the sole Black person in the frame, amplifies the Black presence in pre-modern Europe and the Black sitters (some free, some enslaved, some imagined) that informed these portraits. In this collating of multiple Balthazars we see that not all of them are the same. Rosa’s reassemblage gives him agency. Despite being a figure, whose identity has been shaped by the European gaze, Rosa presents Balthazar in a new world, amongst comrades, who see identity as fluid and in a constant process of becoming. In rejecting the status quo of his cultural representation, she performs an act of refusal and demonstrates the power of this in the liberation and renewal of Black identities.' - Chapter Arts

Photos: Simon Ayre

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