Born in Kenya, raised in Britain. My artwork, in some way or another, reflects the duality of my heritage. It’s tough for me to truly identify as either Kenyan or British. Growing up, my experiences of culture have been through a perspective shaped by an amalgamation of the upbringings my parents had in their home nations. Mix in the rest of the national heritage that’s in my family, the childhood holidays visiting family across Europe, the cultural references I bring to my artwork are about as varied as a box of celebrations. This internal conflict with my own notions of identity can usually be found at the heart of my collages and is something always in the back of my mind with my photography. Understanding and reflecting on my own internal divisions is the driving force of my artwork. My inherent perspective on things has always been somewhere between whimsical humour and cold faced seriousness, and so I always try to blend the two when I can.
Whilst studying Film & Media at Manchester School of Art I learned the theory behind film. Soviet montage had a real resonance with me in particular. Editing images together to generate feeling, narrative and concept, and understanding this via semiotics. Which allows the audience to use their own understanding of what they can see in my work to create individual ideas, rather than being explicit, is essentially the objective of my art. My art tries to encourage the audience to dig deeper into their own cultural understandings, I try to produce subtleties that are more noticeable the longer they are observed. As a book can be understood in different terms the more times it has been read, I try to bring this to my own art.
Is there a subject you aim to portray through your work?
At the moment with my photography I am trying to understand the connection between artist and their environment. How one interacts with it and how one may perceive an area. I would say it’s a side step from documentary photography as I don’t touch on the political. Recently I’ve been working on an ongoing project called ‘suburban bliss’ which explores my relationship with the place I reluctantly call home and the people that live there (I don’t reluctantly call them friends or family). When it dawned on me that I love to hate the place I’ve lived for most of my life, ‘suburban bliss’ simply became an exploration of that. While my other creative outlets never really serve more purpose other than to exercise the concepts and modality that I have and use in a given space at a specific point in time. Simply put I’m just making things for the sake of, I want to.
Where does your interest in photography come from?
If you ask anyone in my family I was unbearable when the TV was on. It captured my hole attention no one would ever get through to me. So naturally I wanted to make films but filmmaking is complex and convoluted. It’s hard, takes a lot of money, people and time. Growing up I lived in close proximity to a skatepark, almost all of my friends skated and then there was me, who never quite had the co-ordination skills to do more than just balance on some wood and wheels. Naturally I started to take photos. I’d take portraits of my mates, them trying tricks and then I was hooked. Trying to make films came and went but taking pictures stuck around.
I’ve seen you run a company called Northernport, can you explain a bit about that?
Northernport is a creative collective ran between myself and close friends. We’re a platform for artists to showcase their talents and passions. Ranging from fashion, photography, music and anything in between. We’re just tying to highlight that there’s some really cool and noteworthy stuff going on up here in the North West and we just want to facilitate people noticing that. We run events allowing local DJ’s and artists to show there craft in Liverpool. While in the future we hope to have all our fingers in as many pies as possible, for now we stick to what we know and love. Exhibitions, pop-up shops, club nights where you get to hear music that isn’t just the same as any other bar or club in concert square. In the future we plan on doing more, and collaborating with more people.
What kind of things are you doing at the moment to inspire your work?
I guess consuming as much art in all its forms is what works best for me. I’ve been visiting exhibitions when I can, reading and watching film but listening to all kinds of music is the main one for me. Then there’s getting together with the Northernport crew. That always leaves me really hyped to make stuff. It also leaves me with a rather large to do list that never gets entirely completed. We each help to inspire each other though and that’s something that we all appreciate.
Can you describe and explain the piece put forward for this collaboration?
Without wanting to over explain it, the piece looks at the relationship between consumerism and self image. Compiled from old magazines, leaflets, clothing tags, bank statements and even an invoice for a some funky trousers I had made. Each element contains it’s own story, how I found it, what that image is about and why I chose it but putting it together produces its own narrative. Separate from the individual aspects which allows you to see it how you like.
About The Collaboration
Created in support of City Harvest, an organisation helping to put fresh surplus food to good use in a sustainable way, by redistributing to organisations that feed the hungry. 50% of profits will be distributed equally between City Harvest and Dick Davey.