Part of the work that I do involves working with youth organisations/young people to explore identity and politics using the medium of photography, to re-imagine something or to articulate a campaign.
I was recently commissioned by Autograph ABP to mentor artist in resident Heather Agyepong on a piece to be exhibited in ‘Too Many Blackamoors’ by The Missing Chapter Collective. Focusing on British history and the visibility (or lack) of women of colour, Heather’s exploration began with an interest in Sarah Forbes Bonetta, a princess from west Africa who, after some unfortunate life circumstances was brought to England and presented to Queen Victoria as a ‘gift’. Queen Victoria developed a fond relationship with Sarah, and her presence in British history brought up memories and questions to Heather’s mind about belonging and experiences of racism.
I supported Heather in refining the visual statement in each shot, composing and lighting the set and stimulating the raw, realness of emotion she had felt first-hand and imaginary as Sarah Forbes Bonetta, fusing the two to develop a common experience, and some wicked portraits.
A reflection by Heather the artist can be found at Gal Dem.com.
‘Too Many Blackamoors’ was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The exhibition opens on 14th January 2016 at Rivington Place, Shoreditch, London.