Day 357
Maud Sulter (1960-2008)
Terpsichore, 1992

Working with installation, photography and video, Maud Sulter addressed issues of the representation of black women in Western culture. Her series Zabat is a cycle of studio portraits of creative black women, each representing one of the nine muses of classical antiquity. The woman in ‘Terpsichore’ is a performance artist called Della Street who created the costume as part of a dance installation piece called The Quizzing Glass. This deals with the relationships between women within the power imbalance of the slave/mistress situation. She was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to photograph several children’s writers, and used a special Polaroid machine which produced 20″ x 24″ photographs. This was also the medium for a series of portraits she made of Scottish cultural figures in the summer of 2002, and 10 of her portraits of writers were toured round Scotland by the Scottish Poetry Library in 2003-4. She was also known for her writing, publishing several books of poetry. She said: “I often address issues of lost and disputed territories, both psychological and physical…the central body of my poetic work is unequivocally the love poetry which is addressed to both genders.”




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