1.23.19 / London / England

Grace Wales Bonner Uses Mysticism to Reflect on Identity at ‘A Time For New Dreams’

An insight into the mind of a compelling designer

Of the exciting designers that have emerged in the last few years, few, if any, have had such an acute effect on us as Grace Wales Bonner. Her collections have been profound meditations on black identity and masculinity, offering a perspective that’s rarely seen in the fashion industry. Her timing couldn’t be better, and it’s no coincidence that her collections have resonated so strongly within the fashion community as it comes to terms with its own slow progression. What’s most apparent with a Wales Bonner collection is that the fashion is only a means to express deeper ideas. There’s a wealth of ideas that surrounds Bonner each season, and with the robust new exhibit A Time For New Dreams, those ideas have been re-contextualized without the garments to go along with them.

Presented at Serpentine Gallery in London, Bonner collects influences from various figures that present a view of culture often overlooked in the worlds of art or fashion, featuring mixed-media pieces from contemporary artists such as Rashid Johnson and Chino Amobi. These works are weaved together throughout the show with an element of spirituality and mysticism—shrines conveying the resonance of black intellectualism. The viewer is left to wonder about their experiences, and how a different framework might lead to new dreams and new realities. Throughout the shows run, there will be live, multi-sensory events including meditations with Laraaji, a reading by playwright Klein, and performance art by Michael-John Harper. The exhibit will culminate with the debut of Bonner’s AW19 collection titled Mumbo Jumbo. What makes A Time For New Dreams fascinating isn’t just that it brings together the ideas the highly anticipated forthcoming collection was designed upon, but that the ideas work so well on their own, separate from the medium in which Bonner excels.  Bonner might be one of the most distinct voices in fashion right now, but if A Time For New Dreams proves anything it’s that her contemplative insights into culture has an influence far beyond these seasonal collections.

‘Grace Wales Bonner: A Time for New Dreams’ is on view at Serpentine Sackler Gallery through February 16th

Grace Wales Bonner, Shrine I 2019, © 2019 readsreads.info

Rashid Johnson, Untitled (daybed 1) 2012, © 2019 readsreads.info

Eric N. Mack, A Lesson in Perspective 2017, © 2019 readsreads.info

Kapwani Kiwanga, Flowers for Africa, 2019,  © 2019 readsreads.info

Laraaji, Transformation 2019, © 2019 Harry Richards Photography

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