“In literary and visual art, the myth of Salomé has served western orientalist explorations often through the extreme sexual, hysterical exotic invention. Yet, even as Salomé’s denigration rises exponentially with the veneration of her beheaded love interest, the myth draws a complex response despite the finality of its lethal qualification.” – Isoje Chou
Isoje Chou revisits this compelling story involving a precocious thirteen-year-old girl. In a large pair of ink and collage paintings (72×50 in.), Chou portrays Salomé and her friends at leisure in a nocturnal Garden-of-Eden-like place complemented with gentle and heavenly gestures. Teasing the extreme desire or obsession, she plays with exaggerated female forms in her all-black-sculptures: a pair of breasts with large pointy nipples and a bustier-like object that is actually a feather-covered birdcage. The video mother and child features an ironic comical dialog between a dark-skin woman (Scarlet O’Hara) and her newly invented ‘black’ mother (previously her maid ‘Mammy’), inspired by Oscar Wilde’s play on Salomé. Chou’s solo exhibition is physiologically engaging, sharing with others the unidentifiable anxieties and uneasiness of Salomé (or perhaps the artist herself) about who she really is. The question, she seems to say, lies in a constant flux of personification and identification.
Born and raised in Kano, Nigeria, to a Nigerian/Cape Verdian mother and a Chinese/Japanese father, Isoje Chou obtained her Masters of Arts from York University in 2005. Her work has been published and exhibited in Canada, France and the USA including Revue Noire, 7a-11d, with solo shows at Akau Inc. and WARC Gallery, Toronto. She was an artist in residence at St. Louis Convent, Nigeria, 2005 and Fiskars Artists, Finland, 2007. Her work will be included in a curatorial project within the upcoming Johannesburg International Art Fair, March 2008. Isoje Chou is a current recipient of national/city art grants from the Ontario and Toronto Art Councils respectively.