Blog

Exhibition: Get Up, Stand Up Now

E5CA9C43-D09B-4417-A900-30731D9E6B46
Multigraph 023 (Larry Achiampong) by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard
IMG_0515
Exhibition Entrance via West Wing of Somerset House
IMG_0517
Colourful corridor
IMG_0518
Floor detail of corridor
IMG_0519
‘Whenever I Hang’ – Poem by Grace Nichols
IMG_0520
Exhibition visitor looking at a glass cabinet display of artefacts collected over the years by Zak Ové’s father, Horace Ové
IMG_0525
‘Icepick, 2002’ by Satch Hoyt with audio of hair being combed by wooden, plastic and metal Afro picks
IMG_0531
Listen boxes were dotted around the space with various music spanning 50 years. This one was playing ‘Empire Road (1978)’ by Matumbi
IMG_0534
‘James Baldwin, 1983’ by Horace Ové
IMG_0537
‘Warm Broad Glow, 2005’ by Glenn Ligon
IMG_0546
‘Hair Relaxer, 2007-2008’ by David Hammons
IMG_0547
Warning sign at the entrance to one of the rooms.
IMG_0552
‘The Enigma of Arrival in 4 Sections. Section 1: Guess Who is Coming to Dinner, 2017’ by Cosmo Whyte
IMG_0554
Detail of ‘The Enigma of Arrival in 4 Sections. Section 1: Guess Who is Coming to Dinner, 2017’ by Cosmo Whyte
IMG_0560
‘Shrine to Wisdom, 2019’ by Victor Ekpuk
IMG_0562
Detail of ‘Shrine to Wisdom, 2019’ by Victor Ekpuk
IMG_0563
Metal sculpture in the space – ‘Shrine to Wisdom, 2019’ by Victor Ekpuk
IMG_0564
Detail of ‘Shrine to Wisdom, 2019’ by Victor Ekpuk
IMG_0565
Detail of ‘Shrine to Wisdom, 2019’ by Victor Ekpuk
IMG_0569
Grace Wales Bonner’s friends Dennis Okwera and Wilson Oryema photographed by Lord Snowdon in her second collection Malik
IMG_1443
‘Woke, 2016’ by Sanford Biggers
IMG_1478
‘Michelle Barnase – Soul II Soul Jacket, 1989 and Jazzie’s Groove Cane, 1990’ by Jazzie B
IMG_1454
‘A Great Day in Hip-Hop, Harlem, New York, 1998’ by Gordon Parks
IMG_1483
‘The Barber’s Chair and Clippers, 2017’ by Faisal Abdu’allah
IMG_0578
‘Umbilical Progenitor, 2018’ by Zak Ové
IMG_0586
Detail of ‘Umbilical Progenitor, 2018’ by Zak Ové
IMG_0585
Do not touch the artwork – detail of ‘Umbilical Progenitor, 2018’ by Zak Ové
IMG_0589
T-shirt on sale at the exhibition store – this one made me chuckle.

I almost didn’t go to this exhibition. I had a pretty intense migraine for a few days and the last thing I needed was a ton of information being introduced to my already hurting head. If it wasn’t for my friends insisting, I would have easily stayed at home regretting my decision.

So, I gave myself a pep talk that morning and made my way to Somerset House where it was being held. I took a ten-minute stroll from Holborn Station convincing myself that I needed the fresh air and it was worth it. As I approached Somerset House from The Strand, on the facade was Multigraph 023 of artist Larry Achiampong that was shot by fellow artist and filmmakers Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard. Seeing this I knew I was in for a treat. Ok, truth be told, I didn’t know what to expect.

Side note: I loved what Larry said when he showed his mum his portrait on the facade of Somerset House.

“Waited a while to show mum this image (shot by @iainandjane 🙏🏿) which is at the front of @somersethouse via Strand.
We cried
We talked about the cleaning jobs we did in the area years ago
We hugged
Mum talked about legacy, about the importance of (the kids and others) seeing black faces in this way….. about coming to this country with nothing, but now feeling like she’d gained something”

The skies were grey and the fountains at the courtyard were on. It was hard not to miss the entrance to the exhibition which was colourful against the grey exterior of the building. As soon as I made my way in, I purchased my ticket and had it scanned. The lady at the entrance handed it back to me and said start from the left side of the space and immediately I was hit by a very colourful corridor that made me stop in my tracks. Very Instagrammable and memorable. I could tell that the exhibition curator Zak Ové wanted the visitors to be left with a lasting impression from the get-go. How could you miss all that colour and pomp?

From poetry, photographs, sculptures, fabrics, music, video, film, etc., anything you can think of that can be exhibited in an art exhibition was there. Zak Ové did an amazing job curating this show. A glimpse on Black creativity spanning over 50 years. I have just a few shared photographs I managed to take whilst in the space and they don’t do the experience justice.

Also, I honestly thought the exhibition would be in the whole of Somerset House, but it was only on the West Wing of the building. I was low-key disappointed, but all that disappointment faded as there was plenty to see. Everywhere you looked you were drawn to what was being displayed. The experience was definitely multi-sensory. From the floors to the windows, even the skirting boards were carefully curated and thought out to bring the colourful nature of black art and creativity. The whole space was just a sculpture on its own. I loved it.

The poem ‘Wherever They Hang’ by Grace Nichols and ‘Before’ by Selena Nwulu are my favourites. This coming from a person who hardly reads poetry. As an immigrant, they just resonated with me.

Despite my migraine, I experienced Get Out, Stand Up Now for hours that I didn’t even notice the time pass by. I am glad that I did see it before it ended and that I bought the catalogue from the show.

If you are reading this before the 15th of September and are in London, please go and see it. I highly recommend it.
Tickets are £12.50 for adults / £9.50 concessions. Children under 12 go free.

The exhibition has ended now!

#GetUpStandUpNow

 

Personal: My Top 3 Resources as a Photography Student

img_8505

It is that time of the year again – back to school season.

My little ones went back this week and if you do not know already, I am still at University. I will be going back towards the end of this month to start the second and final year of my MA in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism.

I want to share with you my top 3 resources that have helped me in my journey as a photographer even before I became a student and now moving forward as I try to build my brand as a photographer beyond the confines of an institution. So here goes!

#1: Libraries 

The Library at the university campus is really well stocked with books, magazines, journals and media like CDs and DVDs. If I want to do any research for a project I am working on, that is the first place I would go to for the resources I require. When I am working towards a deadline, I would rather stay in the library to get my work done than at home. One good thing is that once the term progresses, the library is open 24hrs. This has really helped me avoid carrying books home and instead, I stay in the library until I get most of the work done by accessing any research material that I require off the shelves.

And, I will still have access even after I graduate as alumni.

For anything Africa related, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) Library is a really good resource. At the moment I have access via SCONUL which is a scheme that gives students and academics the use of libraries at other universities other than their own.

If you are not a student, you can access several libraries across London to do your research. A few libraries that I can recommend for photographers are the British Library, The National Art Library located at The V&A and Stuart Hall Library as these libraries are much better resourced as compared to your local council library which is still a good place to start. All libraries are free to access, but you will have to check their websites for opening times and details of how to access some of their catalogue of resources.

#2: Museums / Galleries

Visiting museums and galleries is always a good idea. I find looking at historical and contemporary artwork a good way of stimulating my way of how I see things and visualise how I would do it if it was my project. I try as much as possible to see not only photography related work but also sculpture, paintings, installations etc. when I visit these places.

This year alone I have visited Somerset House during Photo London, V&A Museum of Childhood with my kids over summer, Tate Modern, British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, to name a few.

As the saying goes,

Variety is the spice of life.

Also, this is one way to exercise physically and mentally whilst at the same time try as much as possible to involve my kids.

#3: Websites and Social Media

This one is kind of an obvious one. Photographic websites and social media platforms are my go-to places for inspiration. When it comes to social media, Instagram is my preferred choice to see what others are doing in terms of their creativity and you can also engage with people if you like their work. It is a really nifty way of networking with other creatives from around the world.

With regards to websites, once I see or hear of a photographer I like, I go to their website to see more of their work. Most times you will find work they haven’t shared on their social media or you find they have even shared more details to particular a project.

Anyway, here are a few photography related websites for you to check out and be inspired:

Everyday Africa

American Suburb X

BJP (British Journal of Photography)

Lens Culture

Fotoroom

Women Photograph

And there you have it, my top 3 resources for photography as a student.

Do you have any websites that are photography related that I should check out? Please share by leaving a comment with a link.

#BacktoSchoolSeason

Personal: BA 2119 | Flight of the Future Exhibition

IMG_1355IMG_1332IMG_1336IMG_1342IMG_1343IMG_1360IMG_1362IMG_1369

Disclaimer: This post BA 2119: The Flight of the Future Exhibition first appeared on Bankelele as I was asked to write a guest post in return for visiting the exhibition.

I was fortunate enough to be invited/gifted a ticket to an interactive exhibition by British Airways in collaboration with students from the Royal College of Art (RCA) at the Saatchi Gallery as they showcased the future of flying in the next 100 years.

This year, British Airways is celebrating its 100th Anniversary as being part of a predecessor company AT&T (Air Transport & Travel Ltd) and this exhibition is a celebration of that long history by looking at aviation through history via FLY, an interactive, multisensory, virtual reality experience that turns you into a time traveller from being a bird, into Leonardo Da Vinci’s studio in Florence all the way to 100 years into the future to what aviation might look like with an aircraft that is guided to land by sight as one of the possibilities of air travel.

Together with FLY, eight other concepts were showcased at the exhibition. These included:

  • AVII (AVY), which I particularly liked as a concept to improve the experience of travellers using Artifical Intelligence (AI) in collaboration with cabin crew. The idea is to submit your needs as you book your flight, for example, if you have particular dietary needs and this information is fed back to the cabin crew who in return provide personalised service throughout your flight without even you asking.
  • Another concept, TASTENATION, uses data collected from DNA and body health to 3D print food for a new multi-sensory in-flight dining experience. This idea does away with food waste as meals are prepared from scratch onto edible cutlery and plates. Yet at the same time provide the necessary nutrients whilst on the air as it prepares the body to adjust to the cuisine of the traveller’s destination.
  • In line with reducing waste, THE FUTURE OF LUGGAGE is another concept that can also be realised. The vision where travellers would travel without any luggage as they will have to upload their clothes onto a digital wardrobe together with their measurements and depending on the weather, duration of their stay, etc. and the idea that you would arrive at your destination and find a set of clothes waiting for you at the airport lounge at your destination is pretty awesome. Clothes will be made from recycled materials that at the end of your trip, you drop them off at the airport where they are recycled.

There was so much to detailing to see at this exhibition from personalised wearable seats called AIRWEAR, to flying green with AERIUM, where the air we breathe and the water that we drink whilst flying is generated through bioavionics systems integrated as part of the plane. CURIO, a hypersonic modular aircraft with zero emissions and weird seating is one I did not get. And so did AER, a shape-changing smart luggage transportation concept.

Of the concepts, I saw at the exhibition, AVII(AVY), AERIUM, TASTENATION and THE FUTURE OF LUGGAGE looked like the ones that are likely to happen in the near future leading up to 2119 with the other concepts looking very unlikely, but I could be wrong and years beyond 2119, these other concepts could be a reality for many.

All in all, it was amazing to see how history and the advancement of technology inform us of the ideas and innovations of what is yet to come.

#FlightoftheFuture

 

Personal: Selfie

img_0420

I Woke Up Like This Selfie (2019)

I am one of those photographers that does not like being in front of the camera but having said that I might as well get used to it seeing as I already have a YouTube channel.

Yes, you read that right, I do have a channel, but I haven’t uploaded a video for 9 months.

The more I watch myself, the more I see that I need to work on my presentation skills. I have never been so uncomfortable in front of the camera and continuing on this journey of putting myself out there will be a weird one.

Also, let me just go ahead and say that the reason I haven’t uploaded in months is that I was derailed by various events in the past few months, both good and bad. This made me lose my mojo to vlog, but I am slowly getting it back to it. I have this urge within me to share my journey as a mum and photographer and sometimes, a video works best.

I have a plan like I do with this blog, to hold myself accountable and post at least one video a week, but for now, I think I will start with one video every two weeks. I am yet to decide when to post. Perhaps every Friday like the blog post or Saturday, what do you think?

Photo Story will continue and my hope with this is to involve a few people as guests on my vlog. If this is something you would be willing to collaborate on, please leave a comment on this post. I would love to hear from you.

So, from September seeing as it’s a new year for school and all, I will be back on my channel with a new video.

Wish me luck as I conquer my fears one self-image and video at a time.

#BacktoSchoolMode

 

Personal: 10 Years Married

Designer Showcase at London Fashion Week 2013

On this day… (2013) – from my ‘Path to Khai’ project.

Earlier this week, on Monday, to be exact, I posted this RAW image (just realised I shared an unedited image – oops 😁🙈) of my marriage license, my ring and that of my husband on Instagram with the following caption:

Ten years ago today, hubby @robertngare1 and I got married in Kenya, but we have been together for longer than this.

I am not going to sugar coat it and say it has all been smooth sailing. Truth be told, no one ever prepares you for married life especially when you both come from being raised by single mums (who did a brilliant job by the way). We have gone through a rollercoaster of emotions and I can confirm from my own experience that the 7-year itch is real people. 😬😅

Being married to Robert has had its challenges and I know I haven’t made it easy for him too, but we are both here working on ourselves, TOGETHER. We have two beautiful children and amazing friends who support us when we need it. Oh and therapy too! That has helped tremendously.

Babes, as we celebrate 10 years legally together, I want to let you know that I LOVE YOU. Thank you for being there for us and our babies. Here is to more years together until we are both old and toothless!

HAPPY 10TH ANNIVERSARY BABES! 😘

When I took this image back in 2013 for a university project, I never envisioned myself using it to celebrate 10 years of marriage. Sometimes, we work on a project and once we know they are done, they are archived perhaps never to see the light of day. Yet, here we are.

Anyway, here is the blurb that goes with the project:

‘Path to Khai’ is a documentation of the birth of my firstborn son, Khai.

This project is my personal journey of love, marriage and parenthood.

Everybody has their own idea and experience of how to have a family.

This can be interpreted by the audience in different ways as long as they can identify with the final outcome of joy, heartache, despair and unconditional love.

In case you were wondering or are just curious, here is the series in full and in the order as they would appear if I was to exhibit them.

Rings
On this day… (2013)

Condoms and Lub
Personal Protection and Lubricant (2013)

Tampons
Missed Period (2013)

Pregnancy Kit
Pee on a Stick (2013)

Diapers
It’s a Boy! (2013)

Prints from this series are available for purchase (except for the marriage certificate one) – contact me here for details.

#Another10YearAnniversary