Alberta Whittle

Business As Usual

31 May - 27 Jun 2019

PRIVATE VIEW: Thursday 30 May 2019, 6-8.30pm

Tyburn Gallery is pleased to present Business As Usual, a solo exhibition by Alberta Whittle. A multi-faceted artist whose practice includes film, performance, and various forms of collage and assemblage, Whittle is known for work which uses the body as a site of potential for transformation and resistance. Creating space to acknowledge the effects of history on the present, she envisions new models for the future, drawing on science fiction, decolonial knowledge, and the power of vulnerability.

For this exhibition, the artist has conceived a series of large-scale digital collages which bring together elements of photography and painting, using performative self-portraiture to depict re-imagined histories and radical futures. She uses collage to reveal the mutability of narratives and encourage multiple ways of knowing. Accommodating various perspectives, images and texts, this practice allows her to disturb the constructed notion of a singular, objective history, and shed light on a wealth of stories and experiences which have been overlooked. These images show manifold alternative possibilities, overflowing in rich kaleidoscopic symmetry.


Alberta Whittle was born in 1980 in Barbados, and currently works between Barbados, Scotland and South Africa.

She was awarded her MFA from Edinburgh College of Art in 2011, after having completed her BA in Fine Arts at the Glasgow School of Art. She is currently a research associate at the University of Johannesburg.

The artist’s work spans film, sculpture, performance, photography, and digital collage, often incorporating multiple elements to create interactive installations. Rooted in the experiences of diaspora, her practice harnesses the values of radical self-love and collective care, using public and private spaces to confront colonial history and start important conversations about healing and reparations.

Selected exhibitions include Right of Admission Retrospective (with Farieda Nazier), University of Johannesburg Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa (forthcoming, 2020); LUX London (forthcoming, 2019); 13th Havana Biennial, Havana, Cuba (2019), Without Tides, an invitation, Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop, UK (2019); Useless (with Emilio Bianchi), Pig Rock Bothy, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK (2019); There’s something in the conversation that’s more interesting than the finality of (a title), The Showroom, London, UK (2018); Inner city, GOMA, Glasgow, UK (2018); TRANS, University of Johannesburg Gallery and The Bag Factory, Johannesburg, South Africa (2018); Self Service, CCA Glasgow, UK (2018); Johannesburg Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2015); and Embodied Spaces, FRAMER FRAMED, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2015).

Selected performances include The Imagined New (or what happens when history is a catastrophe): Working through Alternative Archives: Art, History and the African Diaspora, University of Johannesburg, South Africa (forthcoming, 2019); Between a whisper and a cry: accumulating gestures, Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), Glasgow, Scotland) (forthcoming, 2019); Corpus Callosum, RAW Material, Dakar, Senegal (2018); Right of Admission, The Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa (2017); and Temple of Radical Self Love, Chale Wote, Jamestown, Accra, Ghana (2016).

Whittle was a RAW Academie Fellow at RAW Material in Dakar in 2018, and the Margaret Tait Award winner for 2018/9.  As part of the latter, she presented work in the exhibition Stalking the Image: Margaret Tait and Her Legacy at GoMA, Glasgow, UK. In 2019, she was nominated for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award. She has participated in residencies including Associate Art Residency, GOMA, Glasgow, UK (2019); Creative Lab, CCA, Glasgow, UK (2018); the The Bag Factory, Johannesburg, South Africa (2014).

In 2019, the artist will also mount a solo exhibition at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) titled How flexible can we make the mouth.