Young photographers take over London’s billboards
- Works by 30 young artists shown on billboards across North, South and East London
- Tate Collective open call invited 16–25-year-olds to submit photographs inspired by Tate Modern's current exhibition, A World in Common
- The photographs will be on display from 21 November – 4 December 2023
This week, photographs by 30 young artists celebrating African community and culture will premiere on billboards across London. The works have been selected following a Tate Collective open call which invited 16- to 25-year-olds to submit images which respond to Tate Modern’s current exhibition, A World In Common: Contemporary African Photography. Over 100 entries were submitted by young people based across the UK and beyond, from Liverpool and London to Germany and Nigeria. Londoners will be able to view the 30 shortlisted works by emerging international talent on billboards in Haringey, Lambeth, Southwark and Tower Hamlets over the next two weeks.
The call out was aimed at young people who are part of Tate Collective, Tate’s worldwide free-to-join membership scheme. It coincides with Tate Modern’s exhibition A World In Common, which explores the landscape of photography across the African continent today through themes of spirituality, identity and urbanism. Applicants were encouraged to share images which represent their personal interpretation of contemporary African photography and which respond to the themes of the exhibition such as inherited tradition, family portraits and imagined futures. Following much deliberation, 30 works were chosen by a panel of judges which included photographer Serena Brown, artist Koby Martin, Tate curator Jess Baxter and Tate’s Head of Design, Soraya Chumroo.
Judge Koby Martin commented on behalf of the selection panel: “In going through the entries that responded to A World In Common, I was looking out for unorthodox compositions that pushed the boundaries of photography, through experimentation and exploration which in turn gave depth, context and detail to the narratives involved. Most of the entrants superseded my expectations and I am honoured to be selected as a judge on a platform that celebrates and promotes the talents of these young individuals.”
Captured on a range of both film and digital cameras as well as on mobile phones, the selected photographs portray nostalgic scenes, pay homage to unique cultural traditions, and re-imagine images of the past. Londoners will see bold compositions influenced by traditional African studio photography and stylised self-portraits join scenes of both rural and urban life. Conveying the artists’ personal experiences of community and culture in Africa and the diaspora, the images show groups of family and friends dancing, swimming and working together, subjects performing for the lens, and others unaware of the camera’s presence.
Selected artist Amy Ibukunoluwa Lewis, 19 from Buckinghamshire, UK documents a joyful Nigerian wedding in an intimate photo she describes as “encapsulating the natural essence of Nigerian joy and pride, which should be lived and celebrated”, while Muorada Ibrahim reflects on celebrating Eid al-Adha on a trip to Ejisu, her mother’s hometown in Ghana, where she was “introduced to a part of her [mother] that existed before [she] was born”. For Sohaila Ferrier, 25 from London, regal figures inspired her to “re-imagine royal portraiture from a diasporic perspective, challenging traditional perceptions by centring the subject - Lantana, a black woman - in a position of power,’ whereas Gabin Congolo, 24 from London turned to the Brecon Beacons in Wales to depict Congolese refugees building a new home “showing togetherness, freedom & the richness of culture.”