Zela Odessa Palmer


"As a queer woman of color I have an immense passion for equal rights and discussing those in an approachable manner through art.
Through intuitively writing and drawing I create abstract works that represent mental landscapes. These landscapes usually exist out of installations made with multiple smaller works and/or drawings and text directly made onto the wall. With images, text and textiles I explore the connection between language and identity, more specifically the times when language falls short to describe our identity. Including asemic writing (text without words) I show a different kind of language, one that does not require labels and embraces and encourages not knowing and questioning.

Currently I am working on an ongoing archive on language and identity. This archive consists of works that are made with mostly black and white materials to show the dichotomy within language that usually divides us, but in this case brings us together. They are inspired by the words of Audre Lorde. In her essay “poetry is not a luxury”, she discusses how poetry is mostly a necessity for people who are part of minority groups. We need the abstraction that poetry uses to be able to fully express ourselves in a world where we are not the norm.

In this day and age there is an immense pressure to label ourselves to communicate who we are and how we identify, instead I create an atmosphere where we are relieved from this pressure and can simply exist in our own created languages, whether legible or not."

Zela Odessa Palmer (1997) is a visual artist based in The Hague, Netherlands, recently graduated at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK). Born and raised in Amsterdam she grew up with her African-American father, Dutch mother and sister.

instagram: @zelaodessa

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