Graduate Voices: Shane Sutherland
At London College of Communication (LCC), our students have opportunities to explore both creative practice and theory, developing the professionalism and technical expertise vital for pursuing futures in their chosen discipline.
As an ideas-driven, multi-genre course, BA (Hons) Photography supports students to develop as visual practitioners who can engage with key contemporary issues. Grounded in fine art practice, they’re encouraged to develop work inspired by their interests, and have opportunities to consider industry-led and commercial approaches across areas such as fashion, advertising, editorial and art direction.
With an emphasis on exploring the unique potential offered by different kinds of media and techniques, students graduate as emerging professionals with their own distinctive approach to the photographic.
Shane Sutherland graduated from BA (Hons) Photography in 2021. A London-based freelance photographer and video artist of Jamaican descent, their work focuses on using both analogue and digital processes to ‘regenerate power within the Black subject’. Weaving together both past and present film, archival media and theoretical text, Shane considers themes relating to the nuances of Black identity and experience, along with the intersection at which both Queerness and Blackness meet.
Their Graduate Showcase project, OI (Ori Inu), marks the culmination of a recent exploration into Pan-Africanism and healing. With roots in West African spirituality – specifically those native to Yorubaland – and contemporary, cross-continental Black culture, the work offers a contemporary capsule of the collective Black experience through a series of 360-degree videos.
OI aims to process the trauma related to both historical and contemporary visualisations of Black people by forging a virtual safe space in which they can discover and explore healing away from imminent dangers posed by multitudinous forms of bias and racism across society.
We chatted to Shane about some of the major influences on their practice, working within recent socio-political shifts, and the development of their work since graduation.
Who are your biggest creative influences?
Honestly, this is just naming a few, but there are so many more people influencing my practice at the moment.
How do you think your cultural identity influences your artistry?
My work is heavily influenced by my cultural identity. In fact, it’s my strong sense of cultural identity that drives me to create.
Through my work, I try to understand and explore my identity and the intersections within it.
Over the past year, global events have generated a lot of social shifts and challenges for creatives. How do you think they’ve impacted on your work?
The last few years have majorly influenced my practice as I feel the new techniques and processes I’ve explored due to lack of access to alternatives have slowly become part of my overall aesthetics and creative output.
Your work focuses a lot on themes of Black artistry. Where do you think the future of the field is going?
The future of Black artistry is strong and full of potential.
There are loads of upcoming opportunities for Black artistry that didn’t exist before, and also some that are coming back. This is exciting for me as an artist because it means there are now places and paths that I can see both my own work and the work of other Black practitioners going down - many of them the kinds of routes that I'd previously never have thought of seeing.
How has your own practice and work been developing since graduating from LCC?
Since graduating and going beyond academic constraints, I’ve found more time to understand what it is that my work is conveying, and where I see myself as an artist. This time has also allowed me to be more flexible in my research and processes.
Every day, I learn something new about the ways I approach my artistic practice and the aesthetics that come along with that.