I’ve been resting. Resting for me looks like house and dog sitting for the weekend. It‘a getting up early for dog walks and then doing it again and again for the rest of the day. Getting out and stretching our legs.
And I’m not complaining. It’s good to be out there greeting the light. Well what little there is. As the fog came in during the night and stayed. Creeping into the daytime too.
We get into a rhythm Mila and me on our walks. Short lead near roads. Long leads in the park with expansive greens. She knows though to stop and wait while I take pictures of things that take my fancy. That make me slow down, stop and look closer.
There is still so much beauty left for the season. Still so much colour which is even more striking and startling as they cry out from the grey. The fog. The chill.
I’m merging myself, self-portraiture, with nature. Self assimilated with nature. I’m exploring my connection with nature through photography( for now!).
I’m exploring the environment and the visibility of Blackwomen within the landscape. Using the photographic image to tell a story. In the process reclaiming the narrative of Blackwomen and nature and photography.
I’m exploring the Blackwoman’s space and visibility in love and in relationship with nature. My audience is the Blackwoman. I want her to enter the space I create through my practice and recognise herself there. I want her feel that she belongs, feel the joy and all the lushness created in that space.
This will be a multidisciplinary experience. This will be a celebration of mixness, hybridity and our bodies in love with nature.
A recent addition to my portfolio has been details about my Trace Mentorship opportunity. This was an applied for opportunity to experience the time and space to focus on my photography through a structured programme with other women over 35 years old.
Through a series of talks, presentations, peer and professional reviews, the aim is to gain confidence, knowledge, exposure and further opportunities to develop our skills and establish our practice.
I haven’t really been able to devote the required time and attention to this programme due to immersing myself within the BALTIC commission, it feels like for most of 2022. With this being complete and installed, back from Washington State, now I have the time to really get to grips with this opportunity.
It started with a portfolio review with three experts. I had the great pleasure and honour of talking one on one with Hettie Judah,Cindy Sissokho and Bindi Vora. And what a tremendous opportunity this was to sit down with them (virtually) and talk about my work, my vision, my mission etc.
Not only were they very positive and supportive about my work, but they also offered inspiration, encouragement, reassurance and permission. Yes from talking to these people within the know, my practice, what I’m doing, or trying to do was recognised and appreciated.
I was given back permission and the confidence to keep doing me. To keep pushing the boundaries, to not place limitations on myself, my practice, or what a photograph can be/ can do.
I’m in a much better place now to expand my way of being, seeing and doing, and continue to bring my mixness, hybridity to what I do. I’m excited to see where this takes me.
I’m enjoying the process as usual and not worrying about the end product. And I’m taking my time, embracing the slow. This feels nourishing and good for my soul.
Right now my practice is on display within The BALTIC: Centre for Contemporary Art.
As I was out of the country when the group exhibition, Hinterlands, launched on Friday 22 October, 2022, I managed to get into seeing it after such event the following week.
I really didn’t know what to expect as you visualise the end result, the culmination of months of hard work, dreaming and winging it. But to actually see it all come together in a white cube space is another thing.
I visited my archive last week, with my daughter, excited and nervous and unsure. I got to see The Country Journal of a Blackwoman(Northumberland) exhibited on level 3 of The BALTIC. I was shocked and surprised to see my work out of context within this space. It was an emotional as well as nerve wracking experience.
Because of my absence, I had to leave instructions about the installation as well as extensive notes and labels for each art piece. There are about 50 items if not more within this creative archive. It’s to be expected that things got lost or mislaid in translation. So my focus for this trip was to make sure everything was how I wanted it to be.
After some discussion and sending of correct audio files, everything is now complete and as I want it to be presented to the world.
I’m not sure how I feel that during the launch of the whole exhibition, that things were wrong or missing. But I do know that after seeing everything in terms of my contribution and making things right after my visit, I felt great relief and was able to enjoy the achievement. It was also weird to be there at the same time as seeing peel interacting with my work. I’m not sure I want to have many experiences like that as their reactions did affect my state of mind, pride and achievement. And it would be very unsetting, I feel, to be there and witness someone laughing and disrespecting my work. I think this is something I need to gain a thicker skin for. But right now, my skin is thin for a number of reasons, tat I might explore here in time.
I know I have to return now, to take in the rest of the group show as well as the rest of The BALTIC’s exhibitions for this season, as this is a strong presentation.
I’m honoured to be showing at the same time with them.
Of course more reflection and images to come around this achievement.
HINTERLANDS 22 October 2022 – 30 April 2023, BALTIC: Centre for Contemporary