For her first solo show at that’s what x said, Traces of Dawn, Ijeoma explores her experience as a biracial queer woman through a large ensemble of textile pieces. Together, these patchwork creations form a dreamscape, a safe haven of natural landscapes and interwoven bodies. However, a deeper meaning lies behind this surreal facade; a search for belonging and community that is shared between individuals of similar backgrounds to Ijeoma, descendants of different cultures that struggle to find their place in society.
A strong influence for this exhibition was her initial research on the history of Belgium’s treatment of mixed-raced people, specifically of children from interracial parents around the time of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s independence in 1960 – some of those victims still attempting to get justice to this day. Traces of Dawn is an attempt for Ijeoma to find her own place within the country she was born and raised in, both fitting in and standing out: “This show is about growing up in two worlds. One black, one white, and having to navigate the grey zone between”. Ijeoma speaks on the subject of displacement with a more personal approach; her alter ego’s act as central figures within this universe, recurring throughout the woven fabrics and helping to build the story of this eerie setting. The chosen colour tones transport the viewer to dusk, a time frame that brings unease as the night closes in, and yet Ijeoma finds comfort and togetherness in this moment of the day. The lack of brightness in the work forces the viewer to step up close to discern the different shapes that make up the collaged piece. Traces of Dawn is a way for Ijeoma to share a piece of herself with the viewers whilst highlighting the universality of her experiences.
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