Digital: Danielle Russell

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Russell, Danielle - Bakers 1 (2)Danielle Russell – Bakers of Oriental Gardens, 2015, still from short film

The Digital exhibition opened on Sunday, April 24 and continues until July 4. Danielle Russell is represented with two short films.
Danielle Russell is a Jamaican artist as well as a media and communication professional. She attended the University of the West Indies – Mona, where she earned a BA Degree in Media and Communication (Radio Specialisation) in 2010. In 2013, she earned an MA Degree in Radio and Television (Film Specialisation) from the Communication University of China, Beijing. She has been working in television and radio production since 2013. She currently lives and works in Jamaica.

Russell, Danielle - Bakers 1Danielle Russell – Bakers of Oriental Gardens, 2015, still from short film

About the Work
“The Bakers of Oriental Gardens: Years of using the Beijing City public transportation and walking almost everywhere that I needed to go, meant that I was able to observe a vast majority of the population of Beijing. Persons with disabilities were few and far between. The illusion was that the Chinese society consisted only of able-bodied persons. … It became my goal to seek out and befriend a physically disabled Chinese person and get to know what life for them is like. My search led me to the Bread of Life Bakery in Hebei, a city near Beijing, where they only hire Chinese orphans who are physically disabled. I made the decision to live with them at the bakery and see life through their eyes as best as I could. … Over the three months of living with and filming the women at the bakery, the story no longer became about being physically disabled in China, but rather more specifically about the lives of these four specific Chinese women who live together at a bakery and who also happened to be disabled. The bakery became one of the few places in China where I felt completely accepted regardless of how different I looked from the rest of the society, and this I believe affected how I chose to portray the women.”

Russell, Danielle - The Odd Ones Out 1 (2)Danielle Russell – The Odd Ones Out, 2014 – still from short film

The Odd Ones Out was a collaborative effort between myself and a former English classmate, Brittany Pearce. … Before living in China, my skin colour was not an important daily issue. It was only after living amongst a homogenous society of Chinese that I became acutely aware of my colour. I was now a novelty. … Romantic relationships between Chinese women and Black men were pervasive on the streets and in stories that were told. However, the total number of romantic relationships between Chinese men and Black women of which I was made aware during four years in China amounted to three. Race relations weighed heavily on my mind every day, especially on the public transportation when I would be stared at, jeered at, made the object of personal pictures and generally treated like a curio that was there for the education of the masses.”

Russell, Danielle - The Odd Ones Out 1Danielle Russell – The Odd Ones Out, 2014 – still from short film