Artist Faith XLVII (previously) describes a recent body of work as “a kind of scratching into the chiaroscuro of our souls.” Titled Clair-Obscur, the collection comprises wax-crayon drawings, stitched-map tapestries, installations, videos, and Polaroids that reflect on the fundamental duality between light and dark. Invoking the Jungian notion of shadow selves—the idea that people repress what they don’t like to acknowledge—Faith XLVII conjures both nature’s cycles and social and political issues, including environmental degradation, tyrannical rule, and human rights violations.
Works include a triptych of the moon’s phases that progress from light to dark, along with renderings of the 2020 MV Wakashio oil spill off the coast of Mauritius and two teens boxing in front of a younger audience waiting their turn. This latter piece depicts “the ‘Colonia Dignidad’ compound in Chile in the 1970s which became a notorious cult center under the rule of Pinochet,” the artist says. Often simply titled “A Study of Light and Shadow,” the works investigate various interpretations of darkness from the physical to the metaphorical. Together, the pieces suggest that recognizing the realities, atrocities, and hardships some would rather conceal is an essential step in our collective healing.
After debuting earlier this year at the Musée des Beaux Arts in Nancy, France, Clair-Obscur will open on December 2 at Danysz Gallery in Paris. Faith XLVII is widely known for her murals and public works around the world, which you can find on Instagram.
Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. You’ll connect with a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, read articles and newsletters ad-free, sustain our interview series, get discounts and early access to our limited-edition print releases, and much more. Join now!