Bad Gyal's Talk
Bad Gyal’s talk is a project exploring the construction of Minorities and majorities, toxic stereotypes as well as institutional oppression and patriarchy in the context of European societies. Clara Verdier refers to herself as a Black Creole French Woman with a Caribbean heritage. She is currently living in East London, UK and this area has always been a source of inspiration and fascination for her. It is one of the most vibrant and multicultural places in the UK and the artist believes that multicultural communities are what make London so rich culturally, artistically and unique.
Clara Verdier was born and raised in the suburbs of Paris, France and she has always struggled with the concept of Minority. Who or what is Minority? Who or what is majority? For Clara Minority and majority are fictional constructions and they are certainly not organic entities. Furthermore, Europeans, mathematically speaking are the minority in the total ocean of humanity today. She believes that the concept of minority refers directly to colonialism and in other terms the ideas of being ‘major’ and ‘minor’ or ‘adults of the world’ or ‘children of the world’.
The Bad Gyal’s talk project attempts to shake up the norms imposed by the Elite White Men on Black and Brown communities, especially women, by re-appropriating media codes and conventions. For her project, Clara has video interviewed, photographed and selected powerful quotes. She has collaborated, exclusively with British Muslim women of South Asian descent as well as British and French Black women of African and Caribbean heritage in the hope of emphasising their voices but also to provide an objective record of their stories. Clara was inspired by the 'GIRL TALK' YouTube videos concept. We talk between women or girls in a safe space about any particular subjects, from make-up, relationship problems and hair tutorials, to identity, and socio-political concerns and more.
Bad Gyal’s talk reflects on Black and Brown women’s experience in the context of colonial stereotypes, dominant European legacy as well as institutional oppression, and finally resilience and pride. Unfortunately, in our modern societies, people of African descent are still facing race-related violence, discriminatory police profiling as well as discrimination in the search for jobs and housing and exclusion. Furthermore, during the last few years, Islamophobia in Europe has awfully increased and Islam is the new target in the European political agenda. Most recently, the French Senate voted a law to ban a mother who wore Islamic headscarves from her accompanying children on school journeys. In Austria, Muslim girls under 14 are no longer allowed to wear Hijabs to school. The Bad Gyal's talk project has been created as a response to race-related violence, Islamophobia and toxic propaganda. Solidarity is Justice.
School of Arts & Humanities
MA Contemporary Art Practice, 2019
Clara Verdier is an interdisciplinary artist who traverses the intersections of history, ethnography, sociology and the arts in an attempt to address trauma, oppression and reconstruction. Verdier produces work in a variety of media including film, photography, text and painting. Her work explores practices and issues related to postcolonialism, socio-political concerns, equality and justice.
Verdier’s research investigates power and colonial privileges, Eurocentric legacy and its effects on the world of knowledge as well as the politics of world systems. She is particularly concerned about how social science has been constructed and is generally merely asserted on European knowledge. According to the sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein: 'It has been argued that social science expresses its Eurocentrism in 1) historiography, 2) the parochiality of its universalism, 3) its assumption about (Western) civilisation, 4) its Orientalism and ultimately its attempt to impose a theory of progress.'
In her work, Verdier challenges and deconstructs the universalisation of Eurocentric models by re-appropriating mass media culture code and convention. She also creates her own hashtags and designs her own advertising campaigns in an attempt to challenge the norms which are still predominantly controlled by colonial policies. For Ella Shohat and Robert Stam: 'Eurocentric discourse projects a direct historical trajectory leading from classical Greece (created as “pure,” “Western,” and “democratic”) to imperial Rome and the metropolitan capitals of Europe and the US. It renders history as a sequence of empire: Pax Romana, Pax Hispanica, Pax Britannica, Pax Americana. In all cases, Europe, alone and unaided, is seen as the “motors” for progressive historical change: it invents class society, feudalism, capitalism, the industrial revolution.”
The artist tries to deconstruct Eurocentric psychology in order to abolish racial stereotypes, colonial discourse, fetishism and racism. Or in other terms, the conviction that any race, in Aimé Césaire’s words, “holds a monopoly on beauty, intelligence, and strength.” She listens, assembles intimate notes, conducts interviews and collects private audio/video recordings and archives, in an attempt to emphasise the black and brown bodies’ voices in public spaces which are too often ignored, silenced and forgotten. Verdier uses art as a demonstration against European narcissism, colonial privileges and oppression.
Clara Verdier was born and raised in the suburbs of Paris, France. She is also of Caribbean descent and her parents are both from Martinique (a French-administered territory). Clara honours and cherishes particularly her Creole/Kréyol heritage. Irrefutably, her Kréyol legacy has a definite influence on her practice in many different aspects: historical, sociological, political and spiritual.
- Art & Politics Postgraduate Program, Goldsmiths' College, University of London, 2015; BA Fine Art, University of East London, 2014
- 'A Glimpse of Culture', Dyson Building, Royal College of Art, London, 2019; Work-in-progress Show, Royal College of Art, London, 2018; The Independent Artist Fair (TIAF), Rag Factory, London, 2015