Exhibition: Get Up, Stand Up Now

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

Project: What Happened to the Rest of the Map?

What Happened to the Rest of the Map? (2019) – Part of the ‘Remnants’ series

I was travelling back home with my kids on the Central Line and when I looked up, I saw that a huge chunk of the line map was missing. Someone went out of their way to rip out a whole map and cut/left out these fours stations. It makes you ask loads of questions. Why did they do this? Is this some kind of vandalism? Why did they leave these four stations? And why only four stations? Why not one, two or just the whole map minus these four stations?

Like I said, loads of questions.

Then again, it made me think perhaps this person just wanted people to look at it and smile. I certainly did and that is why I took the photo. I showed it to my kids and they were equally amused. And if that was their goal, well, they succeeded.

I hope by sharing this photo I too have made you smile. My shameless attempt of paying it forward through someone else’s attempt of making the world a much happier place.

#RemnantsProject

Personal: Family First

That moment you take a minute to reflect. Family support is EVERYTHING esp. when they came out to see my FMP Free Range Show back in 2016.

My daily challenges as a mother who is trying to work as a freelance photographer and at the same follow my passion, is that there are not enough hours in a day.

On a serious note, just getting to juggle between being a wife, mother and a photographer is hard enough as your family esp. children come first as the expense of getting childcare when an opportunity to go out on a job or assignment always makes you analyse whether is it worth it. Also, people don’t take creatives seriously and always want to undercut us when it comes to paying for work done.

I am here for #SupportingWorkingMums as the struggle is real.

So, if I quote you for a job, please keep in mind that I have bills just like you. And, when I mention my kids, don’t assume I cannot do the job. It is not that complicated. They are the very reason I am putting myself forward for the job.

Thank you and stay blessed, always!

Side note: This article by photographer Sophie Ebrard puts this struggle into a much better perspective of how as women we struggle to get the job, keep the job and still strive to raise our children in healthy environments.

#SupportingWorkingMums

Project: Fallen Petals

Fallen Petals (2019) – Part of the ‘Remnants’ series

In a flower shop with a friend and I spot these petals on the window display. They looked beautiful, but they also symbolised how fleeting life is. Their life as being part of a whole flower ended that day. They never got to leave the shop to adorn someone’s space.

Just for this moment, I got to enjoy their beauty, as I knew they would soon be discarded to make way for the next fresh batch of fallen petals.

#RemnantsProject