- Courtesy of Artpace
- From left: Roshini Kempadoo, Jennifer Ling Datchuk and Sama Alshaibi
Born in Ohio and raised in New York, Datchuk investigates conflicts associated with her Chinese, Russian and Irish ancestry through ceramics, including porcelain objects adorned with blue-and-white patterns reminiscent of Chinoiserie. While her Artpace exhibition involves fashion photographs made in collaboration with Lané Pittard and handcrafted, collected and curiously altered porcelain objects, the focal point is something she says she’s “always dreamed about doing” — a massive red curtain made from synthetic hair that’s been tricked out with porcelain beads adorned with affirmations such as “You Have as Many Hours in a Day as Beyoncé” and “Be Brave, Don’t Be Bitter” as well as region-specific sayings like “One Potato at a Time.”
Raised in the Middle East by a Palestinian refugee mother and an Iraqi father, Alshaibi creates interdisciplinary work rooted in both her family’s loss of homeland as well as the Western world’s history of misunderstanding and
- Courtesy of Artpace
- Curator Deborah Willis
A self-described “media artist” who spent her formative years in Guyana and later helped establish the U.K.-based Association of Black Photographers and the women’s photography agency Format, Kempadoo boasts an impressive background in documentary work but has never been fully satisfied with the limitations of traditional photography. Working with Photoshop since its inception, she creates montages that blur lines between fantasy and reportage — imagined narratives that play out against real-world backdrops. Like the work of Datchuk and Alshaibi, Kempadoo’s is closely tethered to her heritage and deftly challenges cultural misconceptions. During our studio visit, she explained that she “came into photography being very aware that there was an incredibly strange perception of what the Caribbean was at that time.” Upon receiving her invitation to travel here for an Artpace residency, she decided to research connections between Texas and the Caribbean, which she inevitably found through oil and gas.