All posts tagged: Autograph ABP

Show: Zanele Muholi’s Somnyama Ngonyama – Hail the Dark Lioness

“I’m reclaiming my blackness, which I feel is continuously performed by the privileged other,” says South African photographer Zanele Muholi. Born in 1972 in Umlazi, a township close to Durban, Muholi defines herself as a visual activist using photography to articulate contemporary identity politics. In her latest series, Somnyama Ngonyama: Hail the Dark Lioness, she uses her body to confront the politics of race and representation, questioning the way the black body is shown and perceived.

2017-08-07T12:06:00+00:00

Gideon Mendel’s Dzhangal brings the Calais Jungle to life

Gideon Mendel’s new series Dzhangal is a portrait of the Calais Jungle, told through its abandoned objects. The title is an Afghan/Pakistani Pashto word meaning ‘This is the forest’, which became the colloquial name for the migrant camp, which existed until 26 October 2016. Mendel first went to the Jungle to teach photography with the University of East London’s Centre for Narrative Research, which was running courses and programmes for camp residents. He noticed a growing sense of antagonism towards photographers, with the refugees fearing that images would hinder rather than help their efforts to gain asylum, and looked to find a way of portraying them without identifying them. He decided to turn to their discarded possessions, collecting and recording what he found and bringing it back to London. “When I first came back with a whole bunch of bags full of what looked like random rubbish, my wife thought I’d completely lost the plot,” he laughs. “She thought I’d really gone mad, finally.” Some of this ‘random rubbish’ is now being housed at London’s Autograph ABP though, part of an …

2017-01-18T11:48:37+00:00

Kalpana’s Warriors: celebrating political activists who fear for their life in Bangladesh

Twenty years ago this month, at the age of 23, Kalpana Chakma was abducted from her home in Bangladesh. She was held at gunpoint by a military officer and two members of the Village Defence Party and driven away. She has never been seen again. Chakma was the organising secretary of the Hill Women’s Federation in Bangladesh, an organisation that campaigned for the rights of indigenous people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) area of Bangladesh. As she fought to regain the land had been stolen from her community, the Pahari people by the Bagladeshi government through the Bangladeshi army, so she was deemed an enemy of the state. No-one knows if she’s a political prisoner, celebrating her 40th birthday alone somewhere. Or whether she was killed, silently, long ago. This week, photographer and Bangladeshi activist Shahidul Alam launched an installation at East London’s Autograph ABP gallery in memory of Kalpana, and celebrating the work she so fearlessly carried out. The exhibition features portraits of ‘Kalpana’s Warriors’, contemporary Bangladeshi campaigners living in mortal danger in an increasingly repressive environment. The …

2016-04-27T11:59:33+00:00

Finding transcendence through the image: the work of Mario Cravo Neto

The work of Mario Cravo Neto has long been under-appreciated on British shores. Despite long being a celebrated figure of contemporary Brazilian photography at home and abroad – having exhibited extensively in South America and the United States as well as at the Recontre d’Arles – the photographer, who died in 2009, hasn’t been exposed to British audiences to the same extent. The first UK solo exhibition of his work has recently gone on show at London’s Autograph ABP, under the auspices of the gallery director Mark Sealy and guest curator Gabriela Salgado. I visited the gallery as the show was being installed as Salgado explained what makes Mario Cravo Neto such an essential figure in Brazilian art. “MY IDEA FROM NOW ON IS TO DEVELOP THAT TRANSITION BETWEEN THE INERT OBJECT AND THE SACRED OBJECT. IT IS SIMPLY A RELIGIOUS POSITION IN PHOTOGRAPHY THAT I WISH TO ADOPT.” – MARIO CRAVO NETO Cultural tastes may have had a part to play in his long absence from these shores, with Cravo Neto’s idiosyncratic studio portraits …

2016-02-12T11:14:55+00:00

Frantz Fanon’s psychology of race, in photographs

In 2015, the cross-pollination of races occurs freely and globally. Yet it is easy to overlook the complex process of identification that a mixed-race person must confront. For in each race’s DNA is a history, culture and psychology that are all too-often defined in isolation. In his most recent series, Frantz Fanon, which tracks the life of the iconic 20th century thinker, Bruno Boudjelal has continued his career tradition of using photography to untangle the rich web of his own mixed identity. Frantz Fanon is widely regarded as the definitive post-colonial theorist. Born in Martinique, he traveled to France to fight in the Second World War before settling in North Africa, working as a psychiatrist in a small town, Blida, 50 miles from the Algerian capital. It was here, in the years leading up to both its release and Fanon’s death in 1961, that he wrote his chilling account of the psychological effects of colonialism and decolonization on the native Algerian population, Les Damnés de la Terre – ‘The Wretched of the Earth.’   “For …

2015-11-05T19:31:02+00:00

The Manchester town hall meeting that shaped Africa: remembering the Fifth Pan-African Congress

In October 1945, as European powers have retreated within themselves, decimated, disfigured and shellshocked by the tide of death that had swept over the continent for the last six years, 87 delegates representing 50 organisations met in a town hall in Manchester. They came together for the Fifth Pan-African Congress, all with a singular, righteous purpose: the liberation of hundreds of millions of Africans living under colonial rule. Seventy years have passed since the Fifth Pan-African Congress, an event which, in hindsight, was one of the most significant happenings of African organisation ever to have occurred in Britain, perhaps the world. To commemorate, Autograph ABP are, for the first time, exhibiting photographs taken at the event.  The exhibition features over thirty photographs, a selection of rare ephemera and materials associated with the Congress and will be accompanied by a Pan-African Film Lounge, screening a programme of films exploring Pan-African history. “It’s an interesting chapter in history in many ways,” says Mark Sealy, director of Autograph ABP. “It’s significant in terms of who was there and why they were there — Jomo …

2015-09-09T10:59:16+00:00

Rotimi Fani-Kayode – The Art of Exile

In January 2014, Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed a new law that allows his courts to punish same-sex “amorous relationships”, along with a raft of other anti-gay legislation that carries penalties of up to 14 years imprisonment. Gay organisations – from advocacy groups to nightclubs – are now banned, and “aiding and abetting” a gay man or woman can carry the same punishment. Landlords, family, neighbours, fiends and employers of gay people are now seen as criminals in the eyes of Nigerian law. And in those areas to the north of the country that have adopted some form of Shari’a law, corporate punishments have included whippings, and could extend to execution. He may not be as outspoken as Simon Lokodo, ‘ethics and integrity’ minister of Uganda, who recently responded “why would I eat my own feaces?” when asked whether he would every consider kissing another man, but Goodluck is clearly a homophobe. However, these remorseless measures were not likely passed out of a sense of conviction, rather it’s because they’re popular. Because Nigeria is not …

2015-03-03T12:50:49+00:00

Human Rights Human Wrongs

“I grew up in Newcastle, sat on buses with characters calling me ‘Chalky’,” says Mark Sealy, founder of Autograph ABP. “I still carry the legacy of that. I know what it’s like to be called a n*****r; I had to go through all that shit. And that’s just a simple game, the menace of little kids.” For Sealy, these experiences haven’t stopped, they have simply become subtextual. “We do it on a cultural and political level,” he says. “We create fear in others. Look at the history of the representation of Jewish people before the Holocaust; images can dehumanise us. They can make it easier to kill people.” Sealy has no qualms about recounting such memories to a journalist, describing himself as a “militant nightmare”. But if he is, he’s managed to break the mainstream anyway – born in Hackney in 1960 and raised in Newcastle, he won an MBE two years ago for services to photography and is currently in the midst of a PhD at Durham University, researching the link between photography and cultural …

2015-04-17T14:08:28+00:00

BJP Staff