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  • Segolene Py

Michaela Yearwood-Dan, The Sweetest Taboo, Tiwani Contemporary x 9 Cork Street

9 Cork Street (Frieze) and Tiwani Contemporary have partnered to show this very exciting and beautiful show in Central London. Michaela Yearwood-Dan presents a range of large sizes and colourful mixed media painting overflowing with emotions and bright hues.

On view until 26th April 2022

It seems that these 2 years of isolation and pandemic has brought us into a deep introspection, and an openness to our feelings and how to show them. I have only just discovered the work of Michaela Yearwood-Dan a few weeks ago while wandering in the private views of fancy London, and although I am not usually attracted to abstract painting, somehow this artist managed to captivate my attention. The colours are fresh, alluring and very bright. There is a sort of swirl in every painting, catching your eyes, and charming you. For her second solo exhibition with Tiwani Contemporary, Michaela Yearwood-Dan is addressing painful topics as well as joyful ones, centring her subject matter on BIPOC queer spaces, as well as self-affirmation.

In this show, the artist opens up very intimate parts of herself. You first get caught in this whirling of colours accompanied with sentences as if we were swimming in her mind and thoughts were coming up like bubbles trying to reach the surface. She is sharing with us moments of depressive state: 'they made us hate ourselves and love their wealth', as well as moments of self-love and hope: 'I'm searching for tenderness in my authenticity', with either little notes here and there or letters that seem addressed to herself. She recreates a world that we all know, not one that is always happy or always sad but a mixture of both, a human being's feeling. These messages concerns her own mental state as well as the BIPOC and queer scene. Yearwood-Dan communicates on a lack of space of this community, a lack of space to communicate and live. In these notes, she also questions the concept of community and belonging, and how she herself understands her feelings about them.

The beauty of Michaela Yearwood-Dan art resides is found in all her works. Her painting can be described as mixed media as she uses gold leaf, pearls seamed into the painting, crystals, acrylic nails and gold hoops. Being of Caribbean heritage (Grenada and Barbados), she has inherited of her family's artistic gifts, as her grandparents where seamstresses and her father an intricate wood carver.

Her gestural strokes giving life to botanical abstraction seems to create a space in the middle of the paintings as if she was herself creating that space she felt is missing in this current society: a festive place where truth comes out safely. She intentionally moves away from figurative style which is a very trendy style these days as she does not want to be placed in a specific box. Yearwood-Dan called her work a “diaristic, self-historicization of the emotions and feelings I’m going through.” she told Cultured Magazine. I feel a connection with her art as I can find myself in most of her paintings, having the same questions and random thoughts. Yearwood-Dan's paintings seem to talk to the audience: you will find a piece, a word, a sentence that will deeply move you.

Throughout the lockdown, Michaela Yearwood-Dan has explored new practices with her sculptural works present throughout the exhibition. Plant pots and benches are around the space, bringing a sense of togetherness and rest, a homely feeling. This 2nd solo show with Tiwani Contemporary at 9 Cork Street shows an important work and evolution in the style of the artist, exploring new horizons and many thoughts that comes as live goes on; A dreamlike world that is actually very connected to real-life politics and criticism of the need of safe spaces for Black and queer individual.


No.9 Cork Street

9 Cork Street

W1S 3LL London

Tiwani Contemporary

16 Little Portland St,

London W1W 8BP

Michaela Yearwood-Dan



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