THIS SPACE I BELONG
Thursday 3rd to Saturday 12th September 2020
Curated by Bethany E Williams, Gregor Davies-Ratcliffe & GALLERY46
Private View Thursday 3rd September, 6pm-9pm.
There are a limited number of visitors allowed in the gallery at any one time, all visitors must wear masks inside the gallery, outside in the gardens masks can be taken off. Hand sanitiser and masks are provided and social distancing measures strictly observed.
Launch / Private View
Thursday 3rd September, 6pm-9pm.
Friday 4th – Saturday 12th September.
Private View & Garden
Saturday 5th September, 12pm-6pm.
Sonam Tobgyal, sonamtobgyal.com
Ricky Lee, @ricky_lee96
Henry Rose, @henryrosephoto
Ralph Ellison, @mister_ellison
Olive Oberoi, @olive.oberoi
Gio Ottanta, @nanni.ottanta
Karla Lizethe Hunter, @framesfromhunter
Harry Turner, @harryjamesturner
THIS SPACE I BELONG presents the contemporary documentary works of fifteen emerging artists. Informed by the collective need to feel a sense of belonging in our surroundings, the exhibition ex-plores notions of conflicting identity, community, our environments and change, investigating current cultural and socioeconomic issues. The featured works examine the multifaceted perception of what it means to belong, from the housing problem and regeneration of London to the questioning of dual-heritage identity and the documentation of simply trying to exist and find one’s self in a fragmented society.
Acting as an alternative graduate show for UAL’s Photography, Photojournalism and Documentary Photography BA courses, THIS SPACE I BELONG is a collaborative effort between the collective of graduates and curator BETHANY WILLIAMS.
Stepping into the 21st century, Muslims are facing controversial opinions from all over the world. Islamic culture has had a long history base in China, dating back thousands of years. Its contribution to China’s development is seldom seen and has remained unrecognised by China’s ruling class. The Chinese Muslims have lived far away from the central powers of China in areas near to the borders, existing in the vast mountain ranges and sweeping countryside. Historically, Islamic culture was oppressed and annihilated by the Qing dynasty. The Muslims never retaliated and remained peaceful, seeking a simple and autonomous lifestyle in China’s rural areas.
Nowadays, there’s a new era and a new challenge for the ethnic people. With a total of 56 ethnics living in China all together, this sort of extreme culture impact, no ethnic can avoid influences from it. Especially for Chinese Muslims,
This project focuses on documenting a Chinese Islamic community that exists today. The photographic series capture the everyday life of these Chinese Muslims, showcasing the struggle and current threats to their way of life. The photographs serve to raise awareness of this underrepresented issue and stimulate further recognition for this marginalised group.
Sa Pippia (which roughly translates from Italian as “Little Girl”) is a photographic exploration of Em Dessi-Makin’s Sardinian heritage. Over the course of the winter months in which 2019 turned into 2020, she travelled from the South Sardinian comune of Burcei, through Cagliari- the island’s capital – to San Sperate and Cabras, taking photos of people and objects that, to her, represented home.
The images capture moments of serenity and reflection: we see plants and traditional clothing, admire views and enjoy snatched moments of pause during carnival celebrations. It’s a calming, almost therapeutic, collection of work that echoes the slow pace of life on the Mediterranean island – an effect enhanced by the use of a medium format camera and hand development.
Many viewers find themselves drawn to the image of a pink curtain blowing in the breeze that trickles through a small alley in central Cagliari. It’s the only time that the wind takes a central role in the series, dancing with the cotton sheet away from the gaze of the afternoon sun.
The album is saturated with reds, blues and pinks – red being a predominant colour in the Sardinian flag and traditional costume, blue mirroring the sky and sea, and pink reflecting the magenta which bleeds between the two. It’s a palette that seeps from Sardinia’s towns to its villages, a visual reminder of the sense of continuity and community felt across the island.
Beneath The City Doves, explores the ‘myth’ of affordable housing. Through appropriating 360 degree and drone photography and converting these images into Cyanotypes, the work reconsiders the landscapes of social housing estates in the process of being demolished and replaced with luxury housing.
A homogenised London, filled with new, ‘luxury’ (and often empty) apartments. Built based on frequently unfair compulsory purchase orders and the oxymoronic promise of affordable housing. Redevelopers seek legitimacy by promise of a higher quality of living, but for who? Essential homes for those in need are replaced with metallic high-rises designed for the wealthy. Gambling chips for overseas investors in the failed casino that is London.
Distorted by the monochromatic light engulfing them, the dichotomy between the recurring images of construction and the remaining architecture on the estates illustrate that these redevelopments are a small example of the countless number of similar redevelopment projects happening across London. Each image acts as a microcosm resembling their own scenario, but as a sequence, highlight the extent of development across the Capital. Old buildings, a construction site and the start of the new builds can be seen in this order. This sequence revolves around the images in a cyclical manner. The constant ebb and flow of redevelopment gives each microcosm a pulse. This infinite rotation is indicative of the way development never finishes. Cityscapes especially are forever modernising. New builds are inevitably torn down only to be rebuilt and replaced.
Venni is a series of photographs documenting the life of Vanessa Tsehaye, a 24-year-old Eritrean human rights activist. Vanessa is a leading voice for Eritrean human rights on the international stage and has proved highly effective in mobilising youth support for the cause through her organisation One Day Seyoum.
Vanessa’s passion for human rights was inspired by the imprisonment of her uncle, photojournalist Seyoum Tsehaye, who was incarcerated indefinitely without a trial in 2001 for speaking out against the Eritrean dictatorship. His disappearance has left a hole in the tight-knit Tsehaye family, but One Day Seyoum has been a source of hope, not only for Seyoum’s release, but also the future of their beloved Eritrea.
Despite the immense responsibility of her work, Vanessa is still your typical millennial, struggling to balance a hectic schedule with downtime with her friends and family. By presenting these different aspects of her life together, Venni strives to present the life of Vanessa Tsehaye in its rich fullness.
Sian Maddocks, Master Sculptor centres around the modern-day ideology of beauty and explores the attitudes towards non-surgical techniques that are used to enhance the face and body. The project challenges the moral and ethical concerns of this type of cosmetic enhancement.
Practitioners such as Sian have become modern day sculptors, adapting their craft to cater for clients striving for the ideal body image, under greater and greater influence from the media and the 21st centuries obsession with celebrity culture.
The aim of the work is to convert certain preconceived ideas about the people that take part in these procedures, with the viewer being encouraged to remain open minded.
These images are accompanied by a short documentary which can be found by searching ‘Sian Maddocks, Master Sculptor’ on YouTube. The documentary is a fly on the wall style approach capturing the essence of this world and the deeper underlying reasons why they feel the need to partake in these procedures.
Harry James Turner is British photographer/filmmaker specialising in documentary and portraiture. Originally from Australia, Harry’s photographs capture the life and energy of his subjects, producing strong and vibrant portraits with saturated colours and hard tones. The genesis of his portraiture is routed in maintaining authenticity, revealing the nuances of his subject’s personality autonomously. Harry’s portraiture style blends traditional documentary methods with a contemporary vision for subject matter, nostalgia and use of metaphors.
Harry’s recent work explores the nuances of masculinity and relationships. Photographing at London’s Southbank, this work is an insider’s perspective on the occupants. Within the space Harry navigates harsh lighting and endless shadows to produce portraits glazed with warmth and vibrance. These images share an experience of social belonging captured in the atmosphere of a communal space where people of all backgrounds congregate.
Ricky Lee captures landscapes that he passes by on his journeys, mostly in his local area of Hackney. Upon reflection, looking back at these images after these areas become redeveloped gives him flashbacks to the memories of the times that they were taken. This then inspires poetry that he feels brings the images to life as you experience his memories through two mediums.
This process began through inspiration from a family friend who always had a poem to tell which lead to him memorising quotes from friends or strangers he meets on his journeys. Through his images, stories and play on words, his work is a valve to release the complex emotions he feels, often creating as a way to forget or get over his problems, or to help him see the brighter side of a situation.
Olive Oberoi is a London based photographer who experiments with film photography, focusing on documentary and editorial imagery. Her work is an honest and raw representation of modern London and its multi-cultural scene. Her artistic style naturally veers towards graphic design, using journalism entwined with editorial photography to convey her stories. Focusing on contemporary topics, she portrays them using analogue methods, specifically in her most recent work, A House Is Not My Home.
This project has explored three different forms of alternative living alongside an investigation into a relevant issue young people are facing in London. This form of living is very popular amongst graduates, young creatives or freelance workers. She has spent time in a van, boat and guardianship to further understand how this pipe dream of affordable living in London has been made possible for her interviewees.
Gregory Romain Murphy
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a nation established through an abundance of wars, imperial conquests, and industrial innovations: quintessential factors which contribute to its current diversity. The QPoC Archives is an ongoing project, composed of 35mm images, where Grégory Romain Murphy captures and recites the narratives of those with multilayered identities. Out of self-interest and curiosity, he choses to focus on those who identify as queer people of colour (QPoC). The label frequently serves as a controversial topic for both white queer people and communities of racial minorities. The attention which the label receives is increasing through the use of social media platforms and contemporary movements geared toward providing visibility to certain margins of society.
Ralph Ellison is an East London based Mini Cab driver, specialising in transporting people in and around the city.
Apart from moving humans around, Ralph chooses to document the way in which people interact and migrate between spaces through the medium of film. Often aiming to capture how the mandem and others identify within those parameters.
Giovanni Giovanni is a Veneto born photographer, living in London.
Documenting the movements, actions and motives of the urban landscapes of Europe and the illegal painters who participate in the visual shaping of it.
Photographing moments that occur daily but go unseen and eventually get lost in the nights, acts of civil disobedience and free spirited creativity merged with a potent amount of “will to power” take the shape of trespassing, climbing, crawling, jumping, sweating, painting, cutting, running, bleeding, laughing, crying, paying, playing, studying, sacrificing and much more.
The intrinsic aesthetic, symbolic and romantic beauty in each one of these acts is so pure that it would be a crime not to record them.
Gregor Emmanuel is a Walsall born photographer and filmmaker based in London. Many of Gregor’s works are editorial and in a documentary style using predominantly analogue techniques. He bases lot of his documentary work around working with people who face social injustices often due to socioeconomic and class differences. He also works with many upcoming musicians and graffiti artists from around the UK for moving image projects in the form of music videos and documentaries.
If You Know, You Know is a series of portraits that each tell stories of their own. Each portrait in the series represents the tip of the iceberg for a greater issue in society than the issue faced in the subject’s personal life, such as people with disabilities being unable to get the financial help they require due to government cuts under the guise of benefit fraud and people being forcibly bought out of their homes at a fraction of their value and separated from their families so that social housing can be demolished by developers to make way for sleek apartments to be bought as investment properties.
Using his mediums as a way to give a voice to seemingly untold stories is very important to him. Gregor firmly believes that initiating conversation through artwork is a way to break through class divide, his work brings the issues and emotions felt by the working class into full view of the predominantly upper-class, art viewing public that in terms of wealth, hold the power to bring change these issues.
Karla Lizthe Hunter
Karla Lizethe Hunter is a Guatemalan – British Documentary Photographer based in London. The main themes of her work focus on the experiences of heritage and socio-political issues within the Latin American community both locally and internationally.
In her photo essay “Restbite” Karla focuses on the reconciliation between Anna and her children where she is staying at a halfway house in San Marcos Department, Guatemala. Anna’s case falls within the national rate of impunity which averages at 94% due to governmental corruption and marginalization against survivors of domestic violence.
‘October in Altadena’ is a personal investigation into dual-national, American/English photographer Henry Rose’s citizenship and feeling of belonging.
Through investigation, he looked to establish a connection with his birth city Los Angeles and develop an understanding of the city and its people. His parents spent the best part of their lives together in LA, but moved back to the UK when he was just two years old. This meant as a child he grew up listening to countless stories about their experiences and all the different kinds of crazy people that lived there. He developed a completely romanticised view of the city and its lifestyle.
In October 2019, he decided to travel back to Los Angeles to gain a true experience of living in the city. Whilst staying in Altadena, he used photography as a tool to document his findings, such as the people he met and the places that contributed to his story.
Sean Hawkey is a Honduran-British photojournalist who has spent the last three years covering youth, violence and organised crime in Central America. This project covers that struggle from their home countries to the border of the United States.
Honduras and El Salvador have built a reputation for being plagued by violence, poverty and gang crime. They have recovered from brutal dictatorships in some of the bloodiest civil-wars the planet has seen and their struggle continues.
Many Latin Americans have begun fleeing their home countries towards the United States. All of them seeking an escape from the extreme violence, crime and poverty that surrounded them in Latin America.
Chasing the American dream through the mountains, deserts and jungles they have found safety in numbers forming caravans. For many of them, their perceived American dream will never become a reality. The plight of these desperate people has been worsened by the ruthless foreign policy laid out by the United States, who views them as an enemy of the state and through political posturing ahead of the midterm elections created an image of marauding invading foreigners, rather than harmless, peaceful refugees.
They face an uncertain future, and with asylum for some sort of sanctuary in America being heavily oversubscribed, these migrants are confronted with deportation, their children being taken away and caged and a hail of bullets from organised militia who would be more at home in the Wild West.