Rosa-Johan Uddoh is an interdisciplinary artist born in Croydon (UK). Her practice as an artist works towards practicing self-love and is inspired by Black feminist practice and writing. Uddoh’s work creates spaces for past and current social situations through humorously and intricately setting itself within British popular culture, media and addressing identity.
Between January-April of 2022, following her residence at iniva, Uddoh’s works inhabit the walls and screens of the Stuart Hall library in the exhibition Pink Tongue, Brown Cheek, a pun on Franz Fanon’s seminal text, Black Skin, White Masks. The works include collaborations with young groups such as the Art Assassins. Uddoh’s engagement with a range of groups of diverse backgrounds and ages allows for for collaborative ways of understanding the themes which impact communities and share knowledge.
A work central in the exhibition is Practice Makes Perfect, 2020, a video work where Uddoh explores popular culture and fantasy using a tongue twister based on an essential essay written by Stuart Hall titled ‘What is this “Black” in Black popular culture?’. The work was commissioned by Focal Point Gallery in Southend-on-Sea, where Uddoh spent the autumn of 2020 working with schoolchildren creating workshops with a focus on her written work, investigating the importance of school experience and the potential of a dream education, according to the possibilities of the school schedule and the public gallery setting. Uddoh’s work also investigates the historical construction of ‘blackness’ in European history through the portrayals of Balthazar. With the help of Nasra Abdullahi, Uddoh catalogued 150 ‘Balthazars’ previously tokenised in ‘Adoration’ paintings made throughout European history.
Practice Makes Perfect, Uddoh’s first book, works as an active extension of her practice of collaboration and activity based on the reader’s engagement. Through sheet music, scripts and instructional worksheets, it is designed to integrate the reader’s experience and interpretation, creating an active examination in the creation of ‘black British’ identity.
Rosa studied Architecture BA at Cambridge University and MA Fine Art at The Slade (University College London) as a Sarabande Foundation scholar. Recently, Rosa has shown work at: Tate Modern, Jupiter Woods (solo), Black Tower Projects (solo), Nottingham Contemporary and New Contemporaries 2018. She is a Liverpool Biennial & John Moores University Fellow and a Lecturer in Performance at Central Saint Martins. Rosa’s solo presentations include: Practice Makes Perfect, Focal Point Gallery (Southend-on-Sea, 2021), ”She is still alive!”, Destiny’s (Oslo, 2020), Studies for Impartiality, Jupiter Woods and Sphinx at the Crystal Palace, Black Tower Projects (both London, 2019). Group shows include: Brand New Heavies, Pioneer Works (New York, 2021), Learning by Doing, 68 Institute (Copenhagen, 2019), New Contemporaries (London & Liverpool 2018) and Black Blossoms, The Royal Standard (Liverpool, 2017). Recently she has screened work at East London Cable’s TV Dinners E03 at Tate Modern, 2019.