Places, Faces, and the Safest of Spaces
We were at "Ourselves + Others" a few weeks ago, selling copies and meeting the women who we do all this for. We talked to them, laughed with them, and got to know them. We took their portraits, and even though we didn’t tell them why, they trusted us (mostly), we just wanted them to stand in front of orange velvet and GLOW.
"Ourselves + Others" was this year’s fixture of Africa Salon, a contemporary African arts festival held by the Centre for African Studies at The School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS). It was founded by the formidable Ifeanyi Awachie, a Nigerian-American writer and curator who is passionate about creating Black and African representation through storytelling and programming. The event was rooted in the beauty and intellect of nego-feminism as proposed by Obioma Nnaemeka. Nego-feminism is a feminism rooted in ‘no ego’ but also ‘negotiation’, shifting intersectional discussions to include the cultural diversity of the African continent.
In tandem with thoughtful and engaging attendees, the event was a unique curation of visual art, feminist theory, creative entrepreneurship, and live music. All pieces came together to start and continue conversations surrounding the connected concepts of feminism, silence and the body. We were especially inspired by a panel discussion featuring great women like Minna Salami, the founder of Ms Afropolitan. Ms. Salami and others engaged with a variety of difficult topics, most notably decolonising academia and how to be a feminist in a capitalist society.
Roundtable had the privilege of taking part in the Creative Market, alongside brands like Clapback Zine and Books and Rhymes. We invited visitors to interact with us by taking their portraits. Portraiture is intimate, and we chose this as our means of communicating with other women as a way to connect, but also affirm and reassure. In a world where we are routinely stripped of agency, belittled and judged by physical attributes, we felt the need to be create another haven in what was already the safest of spaces – one where women of all walks of life were free to ask a question, make a connection, and feel visible. Our three photographers, Zoe Alakija, Immaculata Abba and Fiona Giali used both digital and film cameras to create portraits that reflect the comfort and ease women feel in such spaces.
Scroll through below to see some GLOW...
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