Artist Christian Noelle Charles creates beauty salon installation for new solo exhibition

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Artist Christian Noelle Charles creates beauty salon installation for new solo exhibition
Christian Noelle Charles, Caress, 2022. Face screenprint. Image courtesy of the artist and Edinburgh Printmakers.

EDINBURGH.- Artist Christian Noelle Charles reveals her latest solo exhibition WHAT A FEELING! | ACT I at Edinburgh Printmakers. Having been awarded The John Florent Stone scholarship from Edinburgh College of Art, the recipient follows her 2022 residency at ECA, Kypseli Print Studio in Athens and Centre of Somewhere Residency, Johannesburg with an exhibition of new work. This unique presentation of screenprints is the first part of an exploration project discussing the topics of racial identity, inequality, care and love through the Black Feminine Lens. Working across three different mediums: moving from printmaking to video, from video to performance, Charles explores the rhythms, movement, and the body language of women of colour. WHAT A FEELING! | ACT I is part of the 2023 Edinburgh Art Festival (11-27) August.

For this solo exhibition, the artist has composed a new body of work: a series of screenprints that explore and convey the gestures of being judged, analyzed, and satisfied within a format of salon. Some examples of these gestures are hand crossing, lowering the glasses and tapping of the fingers. Developing these gestural portraits allows the viewer to witness how these gestures trigger the tension within the space, an encounter, and a conversation.

The two part project will examine how we judge as a result of people’s body language. For ACT I of WHAT A FEELING! Charles is trying to understand the act of getting ready and preparing ourselves for what's to come. A Salon, which Charles considers a space of escape and support has been created to showcase this new series of prints. WHAT A FEELING! will explore the experience of how the artists interviewed have been judged within arts institutions and interrogate the concept of working twice as hard to get half as far.

Speaking ahead of the exhibition Christian Noelle Charles said:

“I’m looking forward to bringing a fun and colourful show to Edinburgh Printmakers. As a Black Creative working in Scotland I wanted to make work that connects with and welcomes black and POC communities into the gallery. Working in sound, screen print and installation I also wanted to share my love print and how effective it is at transferring an artist's emotions through their hands and into the artworks.

The artworks aim to capture the representation of black women, feminine creatives, and the sense of how much we always have to get ready and work almost twice as hard to achieve. In these one on one conversations with creatives in Scotland, I’m capturing our previous experiences in terms of getting what we want within our careers or our lives, how much harder we have to work in those kinds of spaces.

It was important too, to change the interpretation of how you could look at a print, in a modern context while at the same time representing what my upbringing is and what I'm familiar with. Salons or barber shops are locations and places of refuge and also social spaces, a place where you can talk. It's a space of celebration and joy in terms of like the black female in that way and that sense of self love and getting ready.

I grew up going to beauty salons. I have always got my hair done since I was a kid. And I wanted to create a place of relaxation, security, that sense of getting ready is like the whole social aspect of it. There will be salon chairs and people have permission to sit. I wanted to create a new way of seeing, how to look at prints. People are getting ready within the mirror. You're looking at a sense of analyzation in the process. So it just feels like almost having a conversation with these people, my friends. Creating these types of sets and installations change the perception of how people should look at art and also just feel relaxed in the space instead of analyzing it too much".

Janet Archer, CEO at Edinburgh Printmakers said:

“We’re delighted to be able to programme Christian Noelle Charles for our festival exhibition this year. The scale of her ambition for the show and the important themes she’s exploring in it promise to create a thought provoking exhibition in a unique welcoming context. Her enthusiasm for printmaking as a medium is evident in her vibrant work and we’re looking ahead with anticipation to welcoming visitors to the transformed gallery space.”

Edinburgh Printmakers
July 28th, 2023 - September 17th, 2023

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