For their forthcoming residency at the Gallery, De’Anne Crooks will explore Caribbean tales, more familiarly known as “old wives tales”, using them as a springboard for investigation into a wider conversation around the validity, comfort and history of these tales across different cultures.
Exploring the origin, comfort, consequences, and the visual depiction of such tales, De’Anne will use this time in residence to consider the influence these tales have within different realities. In many cases, tales are shared by women which is an area of research De’Anne considers as crucial.
Built on a foundation of painting and drawing, De’Anne’s practice has developed into one of moving image, performance, and text. De’Anne is particularly interested in how these forms of art interact with, originate from, and are removed from Blackness. The moving image and the performance of their writing, usually monologues, faintly resemble the preaching and teaching styles seen in Black Pentecostal churches. This subtly underpins their practice as they draw upon their upbringing in the Christian faith. The use of language and imagery is intending to document important and marginalised experiences with a gentle and powerful voice; not dissimilar to the ‘tough love’ they experienced growing up. Much of De’Anne’s work derives from conversations, imagery, workshops, and teaching. Each of these processes reference their role as an artist educator where they, again, attempt to engage in critical conversations with the love, sincerity, and urgency; elements that are evident within Black Pentecostal church culture.
De’Anne’s work not only considers identity politics and critical race theory, subjects which have been explored in Western art for centuries, rather it explores the ways in which they can use the qualities of Blackness to have conversations about any other subject. To do this, De’Anne has been focusing on linguistics; the behaviour and politics of language and the Black women who raise and love them. Along with the incredible contribution of work made by the Blk Arts group in the 80’s and 90’s, De’Anne is inspired and charged by the writings of Stuart Hall, Bell Hooks and Toni Morrison. During this residency, De’Anne hopes to widen their reading and research, beginning with texts such as The Irish-Jamaican by Michelle ‘The Mother’ Hubbard and Duppy Stories by David Brailsford.