The commission is featured in Cultural Evolution: Identity, Performance and Fashion an exhibition curated for FORMAT 22 Presents by Azu Nwagbogu, Director Lagos Photo and African Artists’ Foundation. The exhibition brings together artists whose work demonstrates an awareness of the rapidly changing cultural landscape, and the need to insert themselves across various aspects and genres of the rapidly transforming visual cultural scene. Each artist has produced a work that is as much themselves as metaphorically possible in a self-reflexive sense.
Stephen Tayo, Silvia Rosi, Bonolo Kavula, Adji Dieye and Lunga Ntila all push the limits of identity. For them, identity is a series of narratives of self. Identity is just a set of narratives that we tell ourselves about ourselves. In the exhibition, not only do they introduce us to metaphysical notions about an evolving notion of identity, but they also expand or discard with linear forms of narrative. A story is not compulsory, just a life. They share a part of their lives that is open ended.
In 2019, Silvia was awarded the Jerwood/Photoworks Award 3 alongside Theo Simpson, a major commissioning opportunity which supports early-career artists working with photography to make new work and significantly develop their practice. The exhibition has so far exhibited in 2020 at Jerwood Space, London and Belfast Exposed in 2021.
Silvia’s work explores her personal family history drawing on her Togolaise heritage, and the idea of origins. Her mother, who has been the source of 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. She has been informed by this history and her position as a European looking in on her family heritage. Her project is partially inspired by the West African studio portrait and includes a visual deconstruction of head carrying techniques, a practice with its own histories, skills, rituals and aesthetics, and a strong connection to Silvia’s own family history.
Encounter, commissioned for the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 3, is a fictional representation of her family album, exploring tales of migration and diaspora through self-portraiture, performance, and symbolism. Inspired by an image from her own family album, of her young mother as a market trader in Lomé Togo, Silvia retraced her parents’ journey of migration from Togo to Italy. This is a story that is both deeply personal and at the same time universal.
The exhibition will open on 19 March at QUAD, Market Place, Derby DE1 3AS.
The exhibition is part of FORMAT 22 Presents, which will be showcasing over 100 artists from across the world in 5 exhibitions at QUAD and venues across Derby city centre, with the main exhibitions at QUAD starting on 19 March and continuing to 3 July.
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