Michelle Williams Gamaker
Kanchi's Alphabet [Krishna Istha], 2020
Archival pigment print on Canson, Infinity Platine, Fibre Rag 310g paper
16 x 12 inches (40.6 x 30.5 centimeters)
Edition of 25
© Michelle Williams Gamaker, 2020.
Kanchi’s Alphabet [Krishna Istha] is written for performance artist, writer and comedian Krishna Istha. The text features in Williams Gamaker’s films House of Women (2017) and The Fruit is There to be Eaten (2018), in which Istha recites this subversive and decolonial version of the English alphabet to upend the race, class and gender assumptions it implicitly transmits.
Michelle Williams Gamaker works with moving image, performance and installation. Her practice is frequently in dialogue with film history, particularly Hollywood and British studio films, deploying what she calls fictional activism to restage scenes and reveal their imperialist roots. By recasting characters originally played by white actors with people of colour, their often doom-laden outcomes are altered as their agency increases. She combines scriptwriting with a revisiting of analogue VFX, producing props and collaged backdrops to create intricately staged films. Her trilogy Dissolution (2019), comprising House of Women (2017), The Fruit is There to be Eaten (2018) and The Eternal Return (2019), explores marginalised characters from Powell and Pressburger’s Black Narcissus (1947). House of Women (2017) screened at BFI’s LFF Experimenta Programme (2018) and featured in the Arts Council of England collection shows Women, Power, Protest at BMAG, Birmingham, As Seen on Screen, Walker Art Museum, Liverpool, Go On Being So at Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, Penzance (2019-2020). She recently completed The Silver Wave (2020), an Untold Stories commission for RAMM, Exeter and is recipient of the Stuart Croft Moving Image Award 2020 for The Bang Straws (2021). She is also shortlisted for Film London’s Jarman Award 2020.