Rele Gallery Lagos is pleased to announce the debut exhibition of artist Jessica Soares, titled Who We Are When The Glory Is Gone. This compelling exhibition delves into the profound emotional and artistic journey of the artist as she grapples with alopecia—a condition characterized by hair thinning and hair loss.
The exhibition's title draws from the symbolism of a woman's hair as her crowning glory, prompting us to reflect on the significance of aesthetic markers in defining our sense of belonging. "Who We Are When The Glory Is Gone" is a deeply personal exploration of the space between how we pres ent ourselves to the world and the reality of our experiences when stripped of these aesthetic signifiers.
In this thought-provoking series of paintings, Jessica Soares skillfully navigates the complex interplay between identity, perception, and societal expectations. The works play with the use of wigs and scarves as masks, featuring figures adorned in vibrant Victorian dresses that perform hyper-femininity. The inclusion of etchings depicting plants in various stages of life—half dying and part blooming—further enhances the theme of transition and transformation.
The frames within the paintings become symbols of our preoccupation with image, while the omnipresent hand mirror serves a dual role—both as a confronting and distorting element, inviting viewers to question the authenticity of the reflection they see.
Embedded within the paintings are collaged stories and testimonials, bridging the individual experiences of the artist with the collective struggles of those who grapple with similar challenges. It serves as a poignant reminder that the burden of beauty is often shared collectively.
Who We Are When The Glory Is Gone offers viewers a vivid, confrontational, and intimate glimpse into a state of limbo—a figurative yet surreal exploration of identity and self-perception. While inspired by the artist's personal journey of hair loss, the exhibition transcends this individual experience to address broader themes of perception, the value of material aesthetics, and the complex task of finding peace within oneself. The exhibition curated by Wana Udobang invites contemplation on the concept of belonging and the societal impact of arbitrary markers. Soares' work provokes viewers to see and accept others for who they are, unburdened by superficial standards.
In Who We Are When The Glory Is Gone, Jessica Soares navigates the terrain of loss, engages in a process of grieving, and ultimately seeks reconciliation with the self in a world that often fails to make room for individuals who do not conform to its expectations.
Join us at Rele Gallery Lagos as we explore this powerful and emotionally resonant exhibition, which challenges us to rethink our perceptions of beauty, identity, and belonging.