Centering on the importance of community and collaboration, a new public exhibition curated by Ekow Eshun presents work by eight contemporary photographers working at the intersection of documentary, art and activism
“This is a unique time for African photography,” says curator Ekow Eshun. “There’s a wave of thrilling, artistically ambitious talent emerging across the continent.”
He’s gathered some of the best of it for a new show called Africa State of Mind, opening this week in New Art Exchange – the UK’s largest space devoted to culturally diverse contemporary visual arts. Including artists such has Emmanuele Andrianjafy, Sammy Baloji, and Musa N Nxumalo, the exhibition shows off talent from a new generation of African artists, exploring how they interrogate the idea of ‘Africanness’ in their work, and ‘Africa’ as a psychological as much as a physical space.
Projects exploring mysterious religious rituals in Russia, Soviet health resorts in Poland, and Ukrainian school graduations all feature on the shortlist for this year’s New East Photo Prize. Including 16 photographers from Latvia, Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Croatia, Slovakia and Azerbaijan, the shortlisted series will be exhibited as part of a group show this autumn.
“Each of the shortlisted photographers demonstrate a unique approach to the people, places and stories that shape the region,” says Ekow Eshun, creative director of Calvert. “The prize has proven itself once again to be an important space for emerging photographers to gain international recognition, and we look forward to working with each of them in the exhibition and beyond.”
What does Eastern Europe look like 25 years after the fall of Communism? And how do young image-makers there see it? Calvert 22 is investigating, with an exhibition titled Post-Soviet Visions: image and identity in the new Eastern Europe. Curated by Ekow Eshun, creative director of Calvert 22 Foundation, and freelance writer and curator Anastasiia Fedorova, the exhibition includes work by 14 emerging photographers born in Eastern Europe and Russia – Armen Parsadanov, David Meskhi, Dima Komarov, Genia Volkov, Grigor Devejiev, Hassan Kurbanbaev, Ieva Raudsepa, Jędrzej Franek, Masha Demianova, Michal Korta, Patrick Bienert & Max von Gumppenberg, Paulina Korobkiewicz, and Pavel Milyakov.
“The Face had a different theme every issue and were planning an issue on sex, so Graham Rounthwaite [the art director] said ‘Can you photograph in clubs and sixth form parties and get an idea of young kids’ idea of love?’”says Ewen Spencer. The feature became a regular spot, sometimes shot by Spencer and sometimes by another photographer, a writer going along each time to talk to the kids they found. But it became an ongoing interest for Spencer, who started to pursue it in his own time as well as on commission, and images from the series have now been published as a book by Stanley Barker
Danila Tkachenko’s latest series is featured in Calvert 22 Foundation’s new prize, championing the people and countries of the New East.