Artist showcase opens to celebrate Southwark’s creative community

18 July 2023

This month, an inspirational exhibition exploring a range of thought-provoking themes opens its doors in Southwark.

The I Create exhibition features new creative ideas that have been developed across several art forms – from the exploration of gender expression through theatre to an experimental film project centred on family memory, loss and connection across continents as experienced by the families of migrants.

The free I Create exhibition opened on Monday 10 July and runs until Monday 24 July 2023 at Southwark Heritage Centre and Walworth Library.

The exhibition highlights the works of talented artists who received grants through Southwark Council’s I Create grants programme. Funding was allocated to seven aspiring talents to help address the under-representation of creatives from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds in the arts.

Additionally, the artists were paired with mentors from well-known cultural organisations such as Bold Tendencies, Central School of Ballet, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Tate Modern, The Philharmonia, Film & Video Umbrella, and Theatre Peckham. The mentors played a crucial role in supporting the artists’ creative development during the year.

Developed as part of Southwark Stands Together, Southwark Council’s commitment to tackling racial inequality, the grants programme was aimed at artists with specific creative ideas that were ready for development and who would benefit from a period of focused mentoring to progress their practice.

Councillor Catherine Rose, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Leisure, and Parks, said: “The I Create exhibition is a true celebration of the profound talents of our under-represented artists. Each artist boldly tackles key societal themes that resonate with us all. Through dance, music or visual arts they share mesmerising stories that captivate and inspire.

“Southwark boasts a vibrant creative community, but we acknowledge the barriers faced by artists from marginalised backgrounds. As a council, we are committed to nurturing local talent by providing funding, mentorship and network opportunities.

“We extend our gratitude to the mentors who have generously shared their expertise and experiences with the artists. To have one or two world-class organisations would be fortunate, but to have so many across all these disciplines in Southwark is truly extraordinary. Their support will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on the artistic careers of all our beneficiaries and enrich the mentoring organisations”.

Artist profiles

Hope Strickland - Creative mentor: Film and Video Umbrella

Hope Strickland is an artist-filmmaker and researcher with British-Jamaican heritage. Through various filmmaking techniques and the paper fortune teller, she has been researching local archives, architecture and parks to explore human-animal relations and the effects of Victorian city-planning on our interactions and modes of living.

Sergio Maggiolo - Creative mentor: Theatre Peckham

Sergio is a migrant Latin American queer theatre maker who focuses on creating theatre about queerness and colonisation. Sergio has been developing an autobiographical, larger-than-life, catholic cabaret about gender expression, religious dogma and the patriarchy.

OYOKO - Creative mentor: The Philharmonia

OYOKO is a multi-disciplinary artist, dancer, creator and DJ. She has spoken and performed at KarmaKlubb Oslo (Norway), Golden Jar Bergen (Norway), Tate Britain (UK), Institute of Contemporary Arts (UK), Royal Academy of Arts (UK), RAZA (Netherlands) and has showcased her first music video and release, UNMORALITY, in 2018 which was nominated for the Super Short London Film Festival in 2019 at the BFI, London.

OYOKO creates an eclectic blend of experimental, avant-pop, and alternative music. She has been developing an EP record that explores Black-African identity utilising sound and dialogue to revisit historical moments from personal perspectives. This body of work is a fusion of West African ancestral, contemporary and classical sounds creating a sonic journey that invites the listener to reflect, question and learn from the past and present.

Chinelo L. Njaka, Ph.D. - Creative mentor: Dulwich Picture Gallery with Bold Tendencies

Chinelo L. Njaka is a Nigerian-US American-British sociologist and maker-artist. Using fabric portraiture and storytelling, Chinelo’s work highlights historical and contemporary Black and Black British African and Caribbean figures from Peckham and Southwark.

Daniel Oduntan - Creative mentor: Tate Modern

Daniel Oduntan is an interdisciplinary artist who works across visual arts, sound and performance media. Daniel has been developing Soul Complex Unfinished, a sound and visual response to unseen and untold black creativity in Southwark that re-imagines the development, production and exhibiting of black British art.

Oluwaseun Olayiwola - Creative mentor: Central School of Ballet

Oluwaseun Olaywola is a Nigerian-American dancer, choreographer, poet and critic. Using dance techniques that include ballet, contemporary / modern, afro-forms and house, Oluwaseun has been developing a dance piece for three male dancers that interrogates the ideas of the ‘male gaze’ and masculinity.

Amaal Said - Creative mentor: Tate Modern

Amaal Said is a Danish-born poet and photographer of Somali heritage who has been developing an experimental film-making project about family memory, loss and connection across continents as experienced by migrants and children / families of migrants.

Page last updated: 18 July 2023

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