The last week and a half has been tough as I have been ill, which is still undiagnosed.
Running the risk of developing serious cabin fever I dragged myself from the comfort of my bed and ventured out for some culture and art to feed my undernourished soul this weekend.
I accompanied my friend to a literary festival in West London to hear a talk on race in Britain today. On the panel were three women, two of whom discussed their essays and or books that coincided with the title. Despite being of different ethnic origin they had similar grievances uniting them together as women of colour. I bought one of the books entitled "Good Immigrant", that is a series of essays; which is written by Coco Khan, one of the speakers on the panel. The other speaker, Reni Eddo-Lodge has recently had her book published "Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race", where we were lucky enough to hear her read some extracts from it. All women, including the lead speaker, Paula Akpan, from Galdem magazine, spoke so eloquently and at times with lots of humour to express both their opinions and experiences of growing up in Britain, that is still very much under the influence of imperialism and its colonial past.
Feeling inspired, on my way home, I embraced a quick peek at the Chris Ofili exhibition, "Weaving Magic", at The National Gallery. The pieces on show were a series of watercolour paintings inspired by Trinidad, the island he inhabits. The main piece was a beautiful tapestry that had taken three years to weave, again from a watercolour painting, incredible. They were hung on a black and white backdrop of illustrations depicting men and women. Just beautiful.
Timing being of the essence and my favourite photographers exhibition closing at the Tate Modern gallery I went to view Wolfgang Tillmans work. Since art foundation, I have admired him for both his aesthetic, the fashion element and the way he hangs his work using tape, clips and frames. It feels very raw and unconventional especially the juxtaposition of how the images are placed. I love the way his photography crosses over many boundaries challenging both the similarities and difference between art, fashion and various spaces. He has inspired me significantly throughout my art education, even to this day.
Viewing all this work has made me reflect and think about my own art practice. The conflict I face is that I am interested in many artistic ways of expressing ideas. I remember going to my art foundation interview and being told that I needed to channel my interests. The case is still the same to this day. I want to do photography, print, textiles amongst other things. So rather than settle on one medium, now it is about incorporating all of these elements but with a clear ethos in mind. This is what I hope to achieve with my brand. Celebrating women of colour through a variety of mediums that transition many boundaries and can coexist in various spaces.
This is not a new concept (combining art with various spaces and ways of expressing ideas) and creatives are and have been doing this already. The only difference is the diversity element, which is a key talking point at the moment, an important issue that I hope I can do justice too.
So the next mission is to style each model for the shoot. Make sure the looks are cohesive and they work individually, as pairs or in a group. More research looking through magazines and to consider a narrative for the shoot that works in conjunction with the specific locations will help keep the theme clear and work cohesively on the day logistically.