KINDRED: SAMONA OLANIPEKUN
Samona Olanipekun is a British-Nigerian self-taught freelance producer based in London. He’s produced films across the globe and for a multitude of global brands and publications. “Kindred” is his first foray into directing. Samona’s appreciation for heritage stories that transcend time and place gives the viewer a peek into a world unseen. He is particularly passionate about where story-telling meets social impact.
Samona draws inspiration from everyday life, whether it be his family, friends, strangers, or allegories. He does so to create his films, with “Kindred” being a particularly personal one which loosely alludes to his parent’s migration to the UK. Commissioned by the Barbican, Samona was asked to interpret the theme of “Globalisation”. Shot on 16mm film, he explores the journey of migration, and the reality of ones shifting cultural identity. “The idea, the motivation and the courage it takes for one to migrate fascinates me. I wanted to visually explore various protagonists on different stages of that collective journey,” he says.
The film features an array of juxtapositions. From the innocent young children playing to the brutish behaviour of the anti-immigration raid officers. The scenes of the rustling leaves on a tree, to that of barbed wire and security cameras. The city and the rural. Along with a medley of Western and African culture, this makes for a well-balanced presentation of disparate stories. Each character has a story, and the viewer is given permission to observe their lives. Samona mentions how “the process was very much a collaboration”, and this is clearly communicated in the film. One perceives the various emotions of the people and how this creates a collective journey. The film concludes with the two young boys from the beginning, but this time wearing space blankets. This makes for a strong finish which brings together two opposite realities.
The film skillfully evokes the beauty of a simple life, while recalling the painful effects migration can have on it.
See Samona’s short film “Kindred” exhibited at Tate Exchange in Tate Modern in the “Southwark Untold 2.0” exhibition. The exhibition is co-curated by Pempeople in association with us. Pempeople are a non-profit social enterprise based in Peckham. Working directly with the local communities, they strive to encourage people to empower themselves. To see Samona’s film along with the work of other artists, come to Tate Exchange.
“Southwark Untold 2.0” opens on the 16th August 7:30-9pm. See you all there!
Tate Exchange – @tateexchange
Pempeople – @Pempeople
Southwark Untold 2.0 Event : https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/tate-exchange/workshop/southwark-untold
SHE STANDS FIRM: JOKE VALERIE AMUSAN
Joke Valerie Amusan is a Germany-born Nigerian artist based in England. She is a recent Art and English Literature graduate, and the voice behind Women of Colour empowerment blog ‘She Stands Firm’. A blog that strives to champion the voices of the women who aren’t heard. Her art practice is concerned with exploring her own cultural identity while also altering the oftentimes negative perception of black women in the media. She focuses on the beauty of their complex nature. “My practice synthesises sculpture, sound, film, and performance to examine the concept of ‘blackness’, and how this impacts the identity of black women today”, says Joke. The work demands not only to be seen and heard but felt. It is ultimately a celebration of a people who have overcome.
For Joke, the process of her work is just as important as the final outcome. Employing materials such as, and not limited to, hessian and wool, she depicts the power black women have. Her use of cheap everyday materials alludes to Arte Povera, a movement whose recognisable trait was the use of commonplace materials. This supports the notion of her work being for the ordinary wo(man). She reverts power to overlooked materials such as concrete and hessian by giving them a new and supreme lease of life. These materials now play vital roles in the same way she believes black women do. The objects become sculptural pieces strategically placed to initiate questions, stories, conversations.
Joke strives to alter the perception of hessian in her work. Hessian is a rough and irritating fabric African slaves were forced to wear, and making it large scale and elevating it, it becomes a thing to be looked up at and admired rather than something beneath us. You are to acknowledge what the slaves went through but also how they overcame and set foundations for future generations not just in Africa, but all over the world. The unification of the hessian and the red wool statements symbolise how a negative material or situation can be altered.
Concrete is a building material that is quite literally all around us. It makes the walls of the buildings; it lines the floors we walk on. It’s a strong foundation. It’s everywhere and nowhere. We don’t truly acknowledge it. Creating stools out of concrete elevates it from its flat surface and makes it a support structure. In this way, one is forced to see it. The concrete in Joke’s practice evokes a city environment and enforces the notion of black women belonging to these cities. They have the right to be there.
One of her inspirations is Yinka Shonibare, a renowned London-based Nigerian artist who uses a range of media to explore topics such as cultural identity in a contemporary context. His trademark use of bright fabrics makes his work recognisable anywhere. Although the fabric is identified as “African”, it is, in fact, a Dutch fabric. “The fabrics are not authentically African the way people think…they prove to have a crossbred cultural background quite of their own”, says Shonibare. He examines the entwined relationship between Europe and Africa and often recreates British artworks inserting himself into them. See his work in the “Get Up, Stand Up Now” exhibition held at Somerset House.
See several of Joke’s hessian pieces, which explore statements by black women in her first solo exhibition entitled “Unpublished Voices” . This show has been curated by arts platform Dark Yellow Dot in conjunction with the collective Invisible Numbers and will be held at their new 1B Window Gallery in Walthamstow.
Founder of Dark Yellow Dot Lauren Little derived the platform to support artists who are just starting in their careers. Dark Yellow Dot strives to encourage artists to pursue their dreams by helping them to showcase their work to the world around them. From exhibition open calls, to articles about how to package your art, Dark Yellow Dot does everything it can to ensure a smooth transition into the art community. Be sure to check out their website and find out more about all the opportunities on offer. You can find links to all mentioned in this article below.
“Unpublished Voices” opens from 5th August and will be displayed until the 14th September. See you all there!
IG: @jkevlre @shestandsfirm @ibijoke.img