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30 young photographers take over London’s billboards following a Tate Collective open call.

A World In Common Open Call Billboard Finsbury Park Photo © Tate (Madeleine Buddo) L to R Aisha Seriki, Sohaila Ferrier, Alicia Quayson, Sondliwe Pamisa and Yingying Gao

This week, photographs by 30 young artists celebrating African community and culture will premiere on billboards across London. The works have been selected following a Tate Collective open call which invited 16- to 25-year-olds to submit images which respond to Tate Modern’s current exhibition, A World In Common: Contemporary African PhotographyOver 100 entries were submitted by young people based across the UK and beyond, from Liverpool and London to Germany and Nigeria. Londoners will be able to view the 30 shortlisted works by emerging international talent on billboards in Haringey, Lambeth, Southwark and Tower Hamlets over the next two weeks.

The call-out was aimed at young people who are part of Tate Collective, Tate’s worldwide free-to-join membership scheme. It coincides with Tate Modern’s exhibition A World In Common, which explores the landscape of photography across the African continent today through themes of spirituality, identity and urbanism. Applicants were encouraged to share images which represent their personal interpretation of contemporary African photography and which respond to the themes of the exhibition such as inherited tradition, family portraits and imagined futures. Following much deliberation, 30 works were chosen by a panel of judges which included photographer Serena Brown, artist Koby Martin, Tate curator Jess Baxter and Tate’s Head of Design, Soraya Chumroo.

Judge Koby Martin commented on behalf of the selection panel:

In going through the entries that responded to A World In Common, I was looking out for unorthodox compositions that pushed the boundaries of photography, through experimentation and exploration which in turn gave depth, context and detail to the narratives involved. Most of the entrants superseded my expectations and I am honoured to be selected as a judge on a platform that celebrates and promotes the talents of these young individuals.

Captured on a range of both film and digital cameras as well as on mobile phones, the selected photographs portray nostalgic scenes, pay homage to unique cultural traditions, and re-imagine images of the past. Londoners will see bold compositions influenced by traditional African studio photography and stylised self-portraits join scenes of both rural and urban life. Conveying the artists’ personal experiences of community and culture in Africa and the diaspora, the images show groups of family and friends dancing, swimming and working together, subjects performing for the lens, and others unaware of the camera’s presence.

Selected artist Amy Ibukunoluwa Lewis, 19 from Buckinghamshire, UK documents a joyful Nigerian wedding in an intimate photo she describes as “encapsulating the natural essence of Nigerian joy and pride, which should be lived and celebrated”, while Muorada Ibrahim reflects on celebrating Eid al-Adha on a trip to Ejisu, her mother’s hometown in Ghana, where she was “introduced to a part of her [mother] that existed before [she] was born”. For Sohaila Ferrier, 25 from London, regal figures inspired her to “re-imagine royal portraiture from a diasporic perspective, challenging traditional perceptions by centring the subject – Lantana, a black woman – in a position of power,’ whereas Gabin Congolo, 24 from London turned to the Brecon Beacons in Wales to depict Congolese refugees building a new home “showing togetherness, freedom & the richness of culture.”

Selected artists: Rhoda Akindele, Gina Bell, Shaëny Cassim-Itibar, Iman Dagnoko, Bea Dero, Dhwani, Ikaay Ebi, Bridget Eke, Sohaila Ferrier, Yingying Gao, Muorada Ibrahim, Amy Ibukunoluwa Lewis, Salima Kamara, Gabin Kongolo, Patricia Luyindula, Theresa Macharia, Jack Nelson, Mars Obonyo, Betty Ogun, Naomi Omokhua, Mayowa Oyewale, Aisha Seriki, Olamide Taiwo/MxNeptune, Sondliwe Pamisa, Alicia Quayson, Robin Ringel, Najla Said, Isabella Schneider, Serpent Sibahle Daniel, Florence Wong.

Billboard locations Works displayed at the following locations from 21st November until 3rd December:
Haringey – Finsbury Park Tube
Lambeth – 126 Peckham Hill Street
Southwark – Peckham High Street, Union Street, The Old Vic
Tower Hamlets – Tower Gateway Station, 99 Whitechapel Road

About Tate Collective
Tate Collective is the first free-to-join membership scheme for 16 to 25-year-olds at a national UK museum and is open to people anywhere in the world to join online. Members are able to see any of Tate exhibitions for £5 and also get discounts in Tate’s cafes and shops, as well as having access to exclusive opportunities and events. Find out more at tate.org.uk/tate-collectiv



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