Dressing Chamber II

Dressing Chamber II, 2019


plywood, steel, 8 wooden hand mirrors containing video screens,

8 asymmetrical wooden stools, grooming tools, make up.

Courtesy of the Rijksakademie open studios 2019.

photo credits: Immy Mali, Gert Jan van Rooij

A sculpture in form of a dressing table is segmented into 8 separate chambers and placed in the Centre of a room. Each chamber contains a unique short wooden stool, a hand mirror with a reflective surface on one side and a video screen on the other. Some of the chambers contain grooming tools such as Afro combs, scissors, razorblades, shavers, hairbrushes, baby jelly, make up kits, deodorants etc.

Placing the audience in the position of a performer, they are invited to listen to readings of the letters the artist has been writing to her childhood, and interact with the objects on the table.  The partitions on the table create more intimate sections which are accessed by a maximum of  8people at a time. As one continues to listen to the stories or use the mirrors while smelling, using or touch the grooming tools and products on the table, the sculpture plays with the notion of a typical dressing room as a place that allows one to be themselves but yet transforming their appearances to engage with a public.

‘Using the mirror as a place to unveil one’s own vulnerabilities and simultaneously practice concealing them, Mali creates an installation where the audience is invited to sit in her confessional as she relays her memories.’ Shauna Sorensen.

Some of the themes that come across in this installation include; language, religion, customs, and traditions, longing, the idea of home and childhood experiences under a postcolonial educational system.