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Kate Groobey’s latest painting and performance series Always Love reflects on what we can do in personally and politically heartbreaking times, and finds the answer is always love. 

Always Love articulates the experience of strong, queer, womanhood at a time of rising homophobia, the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Woman-Life-Freedom movement, cancel culture and war. To this Groobey upholds the ideals of equality and solidarity, pitching love as the strongest form of resistance.

Groobey’s work features two main protagonists: herself, as her alter ego the ‘female stallion’, and her wife the writer and poet Jina Khayyer. In Always Love this lexicon of motifs extends to the rose, the heart, and the soul bone, a trio of symbolic tools intended to support, strengthen, and empower her two heroines.

In Groobey’s oeuvre, the theme of compassionate love, embodied by a set of objects, dates back to a trip to Japan after winning the Daiwa Foundation Prize in 2018. In Kyoto, at the Sanjusangendo temple, Groobey and Khayyer had a memorable encounter with the towering Buddhist goddess of compassion, Senju Kannon, who holds many objects in her 1000 arms to protect the people, like a bell, a mirror, and a moon. In 2019 Groobey first began to develop her own set of protective objects in her exhibition Assholes of Ambition at Ribot Gallery (Milan).

Groobey’s motifs are first developed in watercolour, then poured, spooned, and dripped onto canvases to create visceral, textured, oil paintings. Groobey's painted heroines don't sit quietly on walls though. Channeling a queer, female gaze, they move and speak in performances wherein Groobey becomes her own characters, bringing them to life using painted costume, dance, and self-made soundtracks that incorporate Khayyer’s voice, in which Groobey and Khayyer's intimate daily conversations become universal mantras of strength, empowerment and love.

Each of Groobey’s masked performances is something akin to traditional Japanese Nõ theatre, where actor and audience are encouraged to shift their perspectives to become one with a character in order to practice their skills of empathy, reflecting Groobey’s belief that practicing empathy towards others is essential for a healthy society.


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