Both artists explore the idea of history through their photographic practices, across themes of family, industry, identity and architecture. Through the awards these two early-career artists have developed new bodies of work, which has seen them both pushing the boundaries of what photographic practices can be, supported by expert mentors, including artist Roger Palmer and curator Renée Mussai. Their new commissions were exhibited for the first time at Jerwood Arts in 2020, and is now touring to Belfast Exposed in 2021.
Silvia Rosi’s series Encounter explores her personal family history drawing on her Togolaise heritage, and the idea of origins. Her mother, who has been an inspiration for much of her previous work, plays a central role in this project, as well as her father, and their experiences of migration from Togo in West Africa to Italy. This theme of family is explored through self-portraits in which Silvia plays her mother and father, and is partially informed by the West African studio portrait. This family history and her position as a European looking back on her family heritage is also explored through a visual deconstruction of head carrying techniques, a practice with its own histories, skills, rituals and aesthetics. Silvia’s family history has a strong connection to this traditional practice, due to her mother’s previous job as a market trader.
Theo Simpson’s Dark Interiors, is informed by the tradition of landscape photography, through this he explores human possibility, political impulses and economic transformations. Theo’s work aims to push the boundaries of photography as a medium, particularly by using sculptural elements. He also combines archival images with photographs he has captured at various sites. The regional landscapes he photographs link with the engineering techniques and materials, such as steel and coal anchors.
Since exhibiting at Jerwood Arts in 2020 Theo Simpson has presented Map of Horizons, the second part of an ongoing body of work, following on from A Dark Interlude in a solo exhibition at Webber Gallery. Silvia Rosi has exhibited works from her series Encounter at Landskrona Festival, Sweden, Getxo Photo, Spain and Photo Oxford UK, as well as developing new work for Autograph’s project Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other.
Founded in 2015, the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards are a collaboration between Jerwood Arts and Photoworks, supported by Arts Council England and Official Print Partner, Spectrum Photographic. They are presented every two years in London and on tour nationally. Each Awardee receives an award of £10,000 to support the time and space to research and develop new work, with access to a production fund of up to £5,000 each and is supported over a year-long period by a mentoring panel with curatorial support from Photoworks and Jerwood Arts. Artists previously supported through the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards are: Matthew Finn, Joanna Piotrowska and Tereza Zelenkova, Alejandra Carles-Tolra, Sam Laughlin and Lua Ribeira.
Following a national open call, Silvia and Theo were selected from over 450 submissions of UK-based artists using photography within 10 years of establishing their practice. The selection panel for the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020 was: Aaron Schuman, artist; Marta Weiss, Curator of Photographs at V&A Museums; Shama Khanna, freelance curator and writer; Shoair Mavlian, Director of Photoworks; and Lilli Geissendorfer, Director of Jerwood Arts.
Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 3 will be on show at Belfast Exposed from 5 August until 25 September.
Find out more:
Read about Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 3, here.
Watch Silvia talking about her commission, here.
Watch Theo talking about her commission, here.
Visit Belfast Exposed’s website, here.
Sign up for out Exhibitions and Events monthly newsletter, here.