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Serena JV Elston

Ancient Futurism

Artist Serena JV Elston is a transdisciplinary sculptor contemplating the body and its relationship to structures of power like patriarchy, capitalism, and gender. Her research-based practice explores ecology, posthumanism, disability, and embodiment through a post-colonial lens — a historical period or state of affairs representing the aftermath of Western colonialism. Elston critiques the institutional preservation of Western civilization. At its core, her practice asks if an institution has the power to disable a body, does the body have the power to disable an institution? Grappling with the identity of disability, she depicts figures in various stages of decomposition and incompleteness. Elston’s work seeks to make visible the precarious materiality of structures to reveal them as inherently temporal.

Institutions are not independent from the mortal bodies that serve them. In this way individual acts of maintenance of structures of power become political. ‘Disability’, rather than ‘wellbeing’, is deemed as a colonial determination of labor potential and worth. This idea is designed to diminish our humanity in institutional settings. Elston’s art reflects on the fragility of the bodies we inhabit and rely upon.

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