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Kadija de Paula's White series

Kadija de Paula's "White" series is aptly placed in what amounts to a whitewashed hallway within a sterile cement box of a building (aka York Quay Centre at Harbourfront).

Each "quasi-abstract" photograph is a close-up shot of white objects. Some are obvious, some are only hinted at: the hooks of a bra, the knit of a T-shirt.Though named "White" I would quicker name the series "Whitework" after the technique that involves embroidering on white fabric using white thread creating an embossed effect. De Paula manages to uses her camera and (ironically) colour film to create the same.

This series explores themes of purity and hygiene. The white of the objects in these objects would be blinding where it not for the occasional evidence of detritus: the flakes of skin on the cotton balls, the hair caught hem. Indeed, the viewer is forced to seek out the imperfections, the tears, the holes and stray threads along with the hint of colour hidden in the clothing tags so as not to get a headache. It is as if de Paula is demanding that the viewer seek what is not deemed to be the norm, in this case the visibility of our own body fluids.

But for me, the body politic is what strikes me the most about this work. As Black-Canadian, I find myself not so-subtly reminded of the ever-present cult of whiteness. Bleaching cotton for Q-Tips is the same for me as the currently pervasive bleaching of teeth, as well as other things...

Kadija de Paula's series White can be viewed at York Quay Centre, Harbourfront Centre,235 Queens Quay West.
On Display from November 12, 2005 to January 15, 2006.

[Image curtesy of Harbourfront Centre]


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