Discover the work of these contemporary image-makers in this expert-led art discussion.
EXPLORING IDENTITY THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY
DIANE SMYTH, TSOKU MAELA, JANE ENGLAND, ADJOA ARMAH
If you missed the live talk you can catch up on the conversation below.
The relationship between photography and social identity can take us back to the invention of camera itself, yet it didn’t take so long for the idea “identity” to be quickly recognised as something that could be manufactured in front of the camera as easily as it might be discovered by it.
The work of contemporary image-makers has now become instrumental not only to reconstruct and question canons of identity, but also as an instrumental part in raising awareness around the political realities concerning the fight for identity rights, body politics and socio-political issues.
DIANE SMYTH: Diane Smyth is a freelance journalist for publications such as The Guardian, Apollo, Creative Review, and British Journal of Photography. She has also curated exhibitions for The Photographers’ Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival.
TSOKU MAELA: Born March 29th in South Africa and working, predominantly, on the mediums of photography, film, and text – Maela uses his visual mediums not only to document the present but also a way to look into the future by revisualizing African narratives, culture, and aesthetics often as part of surreal and abstract visual worlds.
JANE ENGLAND: Jane England is an art historian and director/curator of England & Co gallery. The gallery’s programme has a research-based approach and includes photography, particularly that related to artists use of the medium in the 1970s. Jane England has also practiced as a photographer with a recent book, ‘Turn and Face the Strange’ published by Black Dog Publishing.
ADJOA ARMAH: Adjoa Armah is an artist, anthropologist, archivist, and writer based between London and Cape Coast. In 2015 she founded Saman, an archive of photographic negatives collected across Ghana that currently number approximately 100,000 images. Named Saman after the Akan word for ghost, also used to describe the photographic negative, the ghost is a central conceptual figure in her practice. Her research interests are broadly in technologies, as efficacious actions on subjects and objects, and Black ontologies.
Folk Art: A look at our cultural heritage, our communities and our identity, and how we choose to express this knowledge and pass it on as inspiration.
According to UNESCO: Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.
Culture and its heritage reflect and shape values, beliefs, and aspirations, thereby defining a people’s national identity. It is important to preserve our cultural heritage, because it keeps our integrity as a people. Folk Art is rooted in traditions that come from community and culture. Artists working in the Folk tradition today are telling stories, they are passing on inherited legacies, symbols, characters. The objects may be decorative when once they would have been utilitarian, but the passing on of knowledge remains the same.
Meet some of the artists involved in this years’ Platform showcase, Abe Odedina, Carol McNichol, Cecilia Charlton, Denise de Cordova and Frances Priest.