Angelika Wallace-Whitfield
Initially, Wallace-Whitfield thought it a form of resistance to not make art in response to COVID-19. It felt as if she was honouring it through her craft. However, to deny the current moment would have been a disservice to her practice and her experience in the pandemic: The process informs the product. Her works were originally studies of human interaction. She chose subjects whose genders are visually ambiguous through silhouette. The androgynous appearance of the figures takes presumption away from the interaction being sexual, in the traditional sense. Instead, they are conceptual representations of intimacy, and human interaction and exchange.

As media coverage on COVID-19 increased, so did her knowledge on how the virus spreads. The way it travels from one human or object to the next, unknowingly, without intention. Human interaction becomes a vehicle. COVID-19 made Wallace-Whitfield question the ways in which we impact everyone we are in contact with, physically, mentally, emotionally, in formative and reformative ways.

She began interrogating the cross-section of this experience: What else other than COVID-19 adheres in this way, as trace or evidence of human interaction; somatically, physiologically or otherwise? In what other ways are pieces of oneself left on or within others? How do the interactions one has with others, brief or long-term, impact them permanently? How do these evidences of interaction manifest themselves? How does one recognise which traits of others are of themselves, or of past interactions? Is it possible to trace the origin?

During the course of the pandemic, Wallace-Whitfield continued answering these questions by interrogating trace and highlighting its relation to human interaction. Trace is both genetic and organic, in nature; It relates to origin and journey. Human adaptability, especially pertaining to migration and racial mixing, emphasises the ambiguity of genetic trace. There has been much to dissect in both the physical and somatic areas of this, and the world displays that dissection.
Angelika Wallace-Whitfield

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