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Showcase: Danika curates an exhibition

a studio portrait of two smiling people in front of a vivid red background
a studio portrait of two smiling people in front of a vivid red background
Danika Lawrence,
| Photograph: Danika Lawrence
Written by
Danika Lawrence
Published date
22 June 2018

How do you go about pulling together an exhibition based on a personal project? Danika tells us more.

My name is Danika Lawrence but I also go by my photography name, Sirius Film. I’m 21 and I’m in my second year at London College of Fashion, studying fashion photography.

In February, I had my first ever solo exhibition entitled ‘Girls Don’t Cry’ which was also supported by one of my favourite brands: Converse.

GIRLS DON’T CRY [film]

Credits: Danika Magdelena as director, Sabb Adams as cinematographer, and music & voice-over by Nigar Kanawati.

The inspiration for this exhibition came from my own personal experiences. I had always wanted to showcase my work to everyone off social media but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to present. I had been working on a series based on the theme of love and heartbreak for a while, which started off as more of a personal project. I was in the process of making a short film with my friend and fellow artist Sabb Adams for a university project, and I fell in love with what we were creating. I also write in my spare time so I started incorporating this into my photography work, taking photos of beautiful, strong women (friends and models) and collecting submissions from girls about their experiences of love and heartbreak. My goal was to show girls that heartbreak is something that we all go through and we shouldn’t be ashamed of. Some of us feel more intensely than others, and with this project I want to say that you are not alone. You can express yourself whichever way you desire.

two fashion lookbook images, one outside, styled with a pink outfit and motorbike, the other with a yellow studio background
Photographs: Danika Lawrence

Curating the exhibition was quite a challenging process. The reason I was able to have the support of Converse is because a friend of mine had a contact within the PR company that look after the brand. I created a pitch of what ‘Girls Don’t Cry’ was about, which he passed on to them in December. I got the go ahead for the exhibition in January so we actually didn’t have much time to get everything together. I think the film was still being edited days before the exhibition. As well as the film and my framed photographs, I also created a zine too with one of my friends that studied graphic design at LCC, as an extra addition to the event. This was a small square book containing some of my poetry, and all the photos that were exhibited. The night was really successful and fun, as there were drinks and live acts chosen by me and my friend who helped me curate the exhibition. The space we used was in Hoxton (a really cool basement vibe) so it was very central and convenient for most people to get to. I was lucky to have all of this funded by Converse who had a budget to help me create my vision.

two fashion lookbook images shot on the street
Photographs: Danika Lawrence

My advice to anyone wanting to have their own exhibition, is to have a solid concept about what you want your artwork to represent. My concept was very personal to me and it developed the more work I produced for my exhibition.

If you feel that you’re not ready for your own exhibition (I wasn’t either in the beginning) there are always other artists out there looking for contributions or collaborations of art work. You can always curate an exhibition with your friends if you feel like you have a common interest and relevant idea. And there’s no rush either! You can exhibit whenever you’re ready.

a paragraph explaining the feelings of love
Image: Danika Lawrence
Danika: I was so pleased with the reception ‘Girl’s Don’t Cry’ received, and I started a platform from it called the GDC Project; a movement founded by me that promotes female empowerment, mental health awareness and self-expression through art and creativity. I hope that I can curate another exhibition in the future for GDC and hopefully another film too!

Lastly, getting support/funding can be quite difficult, but as long as you create a solid pitch for your idea, there is no harm in approaching brands and seeing if they’re willing to help. There are also lots of free spaces available for young people to use to exhibit.

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