Family Artist-in-Residence: Emily Mulenga

Emily Mulenga (b.1991, UK) will be working alongside Alice Morey as our Family Artists-in-Residence during the Elizabeth Murray and Wong Ping exhibitions. Mulenga’s work utilises video, digital media and installation and is influenced by the parallel worlds of video games, cartoons and the arena of online space. She observes the classic characters of the 90s and 2000s giving way to the avatars and social media personae of today.

Her output is the result of a ravenous consumption of media, from the high polish of MTV; the jagged polygons of early PlayStation games; YouTube videos, and the lo-fi social media posts of her online contacts. Entertainment and spectacle are key. Gloss and superficiality meet anti-capitalist critique, anxiety and a quest for a pleasurable life. She looks into desire, femininity and how the internet is used as a tool of expression by women, including ideas around agency both of the individual and of digital material. Using a variety of media she mimics the circulation of digital matter in all its excess, colour, glamour and repugnance: sometimes rapid-fire, sometimes a shifting, translucent dreamscape. She considers how the blurring between human and machine is changing experiences of womanhood, and how becoming cyborg is both a fantasy and reality, the future and the present.

Mulenga is a fellow for 2018-2019 at BOM (Birmingham Open Media) and is currently completing her MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts. Her recent solo exhibition Electric Lady Land opened at Enclave Lab, London in May 2019 featuring work first commissioned for the show WE RUN THIS at BOM. Her first major solo exhibition, Taking Up Space, opened in October 2017 at Firstsite, Colchester. In 2016 she released a short film, also entitled Taking Up Space, for Channel 4’s Random Acts programme. Previous shows include the touring exhibition Short Circuit (Birmingham, Venice, Copenhagen), Abandoned Margins: Policing the Black Female Body, (UICA, Grand Rapids and Woman Made Gallery, Chicago), Futura Free: A Sensing (198 Contemporary Arts & Learning, London) and the 2014 and 2015 iterations of Fierce Festival (Birmingham).

During the residency, Mulenga will take up residence in the Drawing Studio and lead Family Sundays, our weekly drop-in programme of creative workshops for families, leading creative activities inspired by the exhibitions.