Two, Twos

Michaela Yearwood-Dan (1994 - )

Oil on canvas


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© Michaela Yearwood-Dan

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  • About the work
    This painting draws on the techniques of film composition to create a ‘split screen’, presenting a cropped scene of two men eating in a London pie and mash shop to the left; and to the right, trees blowing in the wind outside the artist’s late great-grandfather’s home in Barbados. Writing to the Collection curators in November 2017, Michaela Yearwood-Dan shared:
    The juxtaposition of these two separate images on one canvas is a physical representation of that of not only Black British individuals, but of all people who identify with more than one cultural background. For me and my practice it is important to include Black Bodies [sic]. It is just important to me as an artist to depict what I know, and being aware that in the world of European Fine Art, Black and Brown bodies are significantly underrepresented. During the time in which this piece was made (2016), as we are aware, there was a lot of western politics happening which opened many topics about race, which of course this piece subtly references, however, through the almost mundane imagery of an everyday practice of sharing a meal together, it is a celebration of British culture... which to me would be nothing without the influence of the ex-colonies and Europe.
    The title 'Two, twos' is both a reference to the recurring pattern of pairing throughout the piece as well as a reference to grime music and culture which has been a huge part of 'my London'. There are many different understandings of what the official definition for the street slang 'two, twos' is, however growing up I recall using and hearing it used to say 'obviously' or 'get this' i.e. "He said he would never talk to me again, but two two's he's ringing my phone... Men!" Essentially it is a term directly linked to UK grime music culture, most popularly used by Lethal Bizzle, one of the pioneers of grime music in his 2012 single 'Leave it Yeah'.
  • About the artist
    Michaela Yearwood-Dan was born in London in 1994, and studied Painting at the University of Brighton. In 2018, she was the recipient of the year-long New Contemporaries studio bursary at Sarabande: The Lee Alexander McQueen Foundation. She has had solo exhibitions at Tiwani Contemporary and Sarabande: The Lee Alexander McQueen Foundation (both 2019). Her work has been included in group shows including ‘In Situ’, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York (2021); ‘Ancient Deities’, Arusha Gallery, Edinburgh (2020); ‘21st Century Women’, Unit Gallery, London (2018); and ‘Bloomberg New Contemporaries’, BALTIC Gateshead; Baltic 39, Newcastle, and Block 336, London (2017-2018).
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    Materials & Techniques
    canvas, oil, oil painting
  • Details
    Two, Twos
    Oil on canvas
    height: 161 cm; width: 240 cm
    Purchased from Bloomberg New Contemporaries, March 2018
    verso on stretcher crossbar: Michaela
    New Contemporaries, London, UK; from whom purchased by UK Government Art Collection, 15 March 2018
    GAC number