Editorial: Challenging Hegemonies

In a world that seems to be geared towards a small, elite group of people, it is important to be able to push back, to manifest a challenge to these hegemonies that unfairly dictate and dominate culture. One of our founding principles here at SuperGlue is to open up art for everybody, making art accessible and engaging to whoever chooses to enter into our site. This principle was first conceived by us during our time studying for our Master’s degree, during which we often found the limitations of art to be confined to the elites of academia, limiting not only the audience perception of art, but also the artist’s own visibility and consequently dissemination of their ideas. Of course, this is just an example of the ways in which hegemonic discourses can limit and subjugate various parts of society, and our statement emanating from this is that we try to break these down, as do our chosen artists for this month; these artists set out to illustrate the imbalances in society through their art, and in doing so challenge the pervasive hegemonies of contemporary culture.

Hawazin Alotaibi, Watermelon, 2021. Oil paint and print on canvas, 68 x 41 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

The London based, Saudi-American artist, Hawazin Alotaibi uses her art to inspect the cultural and political landscapes of the Arab world, through examinations of notions such as gender and masculinity, and self-representation on social media. Having just completed her MA degree in Painting from the RCA in London, the multi-disciplinary artist creates portraits that are hidden behind a blurred facade, concealing the true intents of the figures, whilst also demeaning the intended perception of the scene. Moreover, Hawazin is a fixture on the djing circuit of London. We will interview her ahead of her showing at London Grads Now at the Saatchi Gallery, where she is being shown alongside a select few of RCA and other London arts graduates.

Alena Halmes, based in Basel, Switzerland, is a product designer and photographer interested in making disabilities more tangible. She creates objects that are based on the experiences of those living with disabilities, in order to open up new perspectives on their everyday challenges. This approach is notably illustrated in Augen zu. Eine unsichtbare Designsprache, (Eyes closed. An invisible design language), a work created for her Bachelor degree in 2019 at the Institute of Industrial Design, Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst, Basel, Switzerland. This piece consists of a series of five glass containers, each of which represents a formal reinterpretation of the way visually impaired people she collaborated with described different states of water. In addition to being aesthetically and technically remarkable, this series offers the promise of a design that unveils multiple subjectivities and ways of being and understanding the world. In an interview to be published this month, Alena talks about her groundbreaking project and the way she uses design as a way to create a more inclusive, environmentally-friendly and joyful world.

Alena Halmes, Augen zu. Eine unsichtbare Designsprache, 2019. Fotografien: Alena Halmes, Raphaëlle Wettstein.

We shall be releasing the interviews with our chosen artists over the coming month.

Keep it glued.

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