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London College of Communication and The Obsidian Collection launch powerful exhibition, ‘The New Wave’

A woman sits in an armchair, surrounded by her living room.
  • Written byAlex Brent
  • Published date 19 October 2022
A woman sits in an armchair, surrounded by her living room.
Image credit: 'Home Is Where The Heart Is' - Ryanna Allen, created for Converse x Content Lab, 2021.

This Black History month, a new London exhibition of contemporary photography by young Black artists will showcase rich and varied images on themes of community, home, heritage, and the Black experience, as well as critical reflections on the white gaze and discrimination within artistic institutions.

The New Wave is produced in collaboration between The Obsidian Collection, DeepMind, and the Photography and the Archive Research Centre (PARC), based at London College of Communication, part of University of the Arts London (UAL), and will be open 19-28 October in Elephant and Castle.

Curated by Adrian Wood and D. Wiafe, collaborators and senior lecturers at London College of Communication, the exhibition will feature work by Black students and graduates, many of whom graduated from the College’s BA (Hons) Photography course.

The exhibition will include works by London College of Communication graduates Renee Maria Osubu, whose acclaimed film Dear Philadelphia qualified for the 94th Academy Awards, Royal Photographic Society award-winner Silvia Rosi, Rŷanna Allen (Converse), Mariana dos Santos Pires (from BLK BXY JOY curated by Destinie Paige), and many more.

Archival material will be provided by Anita McKenzie Picture Archives, held by Black Cultural Archives, located in Brixton, south London. Founded by photographer Anita J. McKenzie, the Archives were established to ensure better representation of Black and Asian history. One of the first of its kind in Europe and spanning the 18th to 21st century, the Picture Archives hold imagery from photographers who have captured authentic, everyday experiences from the perspectives of Black and Asian communities.

Support for the exhibition is also provided by DeepMind, an artificial intelligence and research laboratory based in London.

A woman stands against a curtained backdrop with a radio on her head.
Image credit: 'Self Portrait As My Mother' - Silvia Rossi. Jerwood Commission, 2020.

Angela Ford, Executive Director of The Obsidian Collection, said:

“Bringing The Obsidian Collection to the UK through these partnerships is a dream come true for me! Our mission is to bring the global Black diaspora to a common portal and this is our first step.

“We’ve been in communication and strategy with the College for over a year to make this collaboration possible. When DeepMind and the McKenzie Archives joined the exhibition, we knew we were creating something that hadn’t been done before.

“The expertise and true commitment of inclusion from the College has been outstanding. This collaboration has exceeded all my expectations. I know we’re beginning a partnership that will impact students here and in America.”

D. Wiafe, Senior Lecturer of Photography at London College of Communication and curator, said:

“I love seeing the power of culture, community and collaboration come alive in the work of undergraduates and alumni from LCC. Every small reference to Krump, Head Porter's, Ill Na Na, or Suziki's reminds me of a rich history of storytelling from young creators whose eyes have shifted how we look at the Black experience.

“And each picture they share is also an echo of their personal perseverance. How they have found new ways to hustle the futures they dream for themselves.  Being able to put a spotlight on their work is more than showcasing. They have already proved they are more capable of that independently.

“Instead, I'm interested in how the pictures enable us to work together, towards building platforms and new definitions of enterprise that encourage commissioners, curators and educators alike to rethink the barriers thrown in front of this exciting new generation. “

'The New Wave' will exhibit from 19-28 October at London College of Communication, UAL, Elephant and Castle, London, SE1 6SB  – free and open to all.

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