Sadé Mica’s work in Now What is a highly personal, honest and often uplifting account of voicing a sense of self, positioned and seen outside the masc/femme binary. Navigating through different labels and self-enforced or socially prescribed restrictions can make everyday life turbulent. It is with clothing, movement, dance, or with a haircut that these terms are eschewed or embraced.
Now What takes its title from an organza piece containing hair from mica’s first proper haircut a few years ago, changing from “a big afro to a fade and a bit on top”. Hair in suspense, essentially archived in the fabric, freezes that moment of quite literally getting rid of a sign of identity, one that in this case was felt to be uncomfortable. This cut was an attempt to align an internal and external self, trying to feel more queer but knowing that once this ‘act of alignment’ was complete new discomforts would crop up. Hence the words hang heavy in the air… now what?
The way language is used is an impactful way to shape how you see the world and how the world looks back at you. Spoken in a soft Mancunian, mica’s words and rhythms are omnipresent – they echo as poetry, recited whilst you watch them dance in SOLO DISCO (2018), taking the place of the beats in their headphones that are fuelling the shimmies, gun fingers and twerks. Almost like subtitles, words accompany the prints, whilst as actual subtitles, under the video Dulux Abyss Revisited (2018), they make visible internalised gender woes. This combination of self expressions – an inner monologue and an outward presentation – is where enjoyment and a sense of release can be found.
Sadé Mica’s practice currently explores their experiences navigating the world as a fat, queer, black person and the nuances that come with fleshing out an identity that can be met with contempt and confusion. They use photography, textiles, print and film alongside other mediums to document their body, emotions, ever in flux gender presentation and the facets of identity regarded most pressing in regards to their gaze and worldview. Mica lives and works in Manchester. This is their first solo exhibition.