Rainbow Tribe: Affectionate Movement R&R is a collaborative project led by visual artist Jade Montserrat and curator Chris Rawcliffe as an active, ongoing, collective artist-lab. Within this framework, several artists and curators present artistic ideas, take risks and create a discursive platform. Unconvinced by the efforts of the art institution and art world to address deep-rooted racism, gender inequalities and discrimination against those from “protected characteristics”, Rainbow Tribe: Affectionate Movement R&R presupposes that an Affectionate Movement requires prioritising the urgency of a care centred approach within the highly sensitive terrains marginalised artists navigate.
Affectionate Movement is a term referred to in the anthology by Nina Kane, Reflections on Female and Trans* Masculinities and Other Queer Crossings, describing an approach to exploring shifts in freedom, agency, ethics, care, and being in a community. The project’s overarching title is taken from Josephine Baker’s pivotal 20th-century experiment ‘The Rainbow Tribe’ in which a group of 12 ethnically diverse children were adopted by Baker. The work explores Baker’s fairy tale-like ideas of a modern mixed-race family within the climate of global 21st-century issues surrounding cultural diversity and political freedom, within the context of the Imperial movement. Baker’s family experiment was her flawed solution to a global problem — how to transcend race. Led by artists Jade Montserrat and Ria Hartley in 2016, with the support of LADA’s DIY development scheme and including another 10 artists, echoing Josephine Baker’s original social experiment, Rainbow Tribe: Affectionate Movement was a workshop with aims to ascertain new ground for politicised territories. This original “Tribe” is invited to regroup alongside an extended plurality of voices. The research process emphasises R&R (rest and recuperation/research and results) and works towards equipping participants and participant viewers to test out and observe the methodology of ‘affectionate movement’ and ‘rainbow tribe’ by confronting issues affecting our personal and professional lives, without the spectacularisation, the fetish of individual practice.
Jade Montserrat presents a wall drawing, covering the whole of the gallery’s walls, using text from her research to-date, with a focus on de-colonialising processes. The artist invites prospective participants—the multiple artists whose voices are essential to the scope of the project, with whom safe exchanges/workshops might be shaped—to create a palimpsest of the walls. The invited collaborators have the option to erase, add and highlight elements of the text using whitewash and charcoal. This exhibition is a stage for space for artist interactions, workshops and events.
Jade Montserrat lives and works in Scarborough, North Yorkshire and is the Stuart Hall Foundation practice-based PhD candidate at The Institute for Black Atlantic Research, The University of Central Lancashire (2017-). Montserrat works at the intersection of art and activism through drawing, painting, performance, installation, sculpture, film, print and text. The artist interrogates these mediums with the aim to expose gaps in our visual and linguistic habits. She graduated from the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2003 and Norwich University of the Arts in 2010. Recent selected screenings, performances and presentations include: Arnolfini, and Spike Island, Bristol (2017), Alison Jacques Gallery (2017) and Princeton University (2016). Montserrat works collaboratively with artist and performance collectives including Network 11, Press Room, the Conway Cohort, Rainbow Tribe: Affectionate Movement and Ecology of Care Bureau. She is the recipient of the Jerwood Drawing Prize student award (2017).
Chris Rawcliffe is a curator-artist who works collaboratively across different art forms and sectors to deliver new commissions, exhibitions and performance. He is founder of Pro Numb an entity that has produced artworks, curated exhibitions and online activities and, existed as an artist-led project space between 2010-16.