Latifah London, United Kingdom
My work touches on themes of loss, memory, identity, and violence on the human body. In the work that I am currently making I have explored the role of the female figure in domestic spaces. I believe that my mixed heritage has been a rich source for material to work with, though at times it has also created numerous questions within me about my identity, sense of belonging and place in the world.
Drawing and painting has always been my chosen method for communicating my story to the world. Who am I, what have I seen? What’s new about the way in which I see the world, and what do I want to say about all of this?
I see their faces looking out at me from newspapers, BBC screens and al Jazeera documentaries, a million miles away, separated by land, sea and culture - speaking another language, practicing another faith.
Closer to home there are also countless people who have been victims of conflict, trafficking and abuse, who are silently huddled away, unseen in our midst. Sometimes we are aware of their presence, though we usually find it convenient not to notice them. We tell ourselves their welfare is not our concern; and that someone else will take care of them.
I keep finding myself astounded by the simple question, why are so many human beings not allowed to simply enjoy their natural human rights? Being born into a certain nationality, professing a particular faith or sexuality whilst living under the wrong regime - can be dangerous, even fatal. Century after century, injustice and inhumanities have been rife across the globe because of the unrestrained prejudice, greed and corruption of those in power. In spite of modern education and the stark lessons of history, conflicts continue to erupt and escalate - with ever more devastating consequences within and beyond national borders.
I can’t save the world and make everything that’s wrong magically disappear. But what I can and will do is record, interview, and visually articulate these narratives so that others may see, hear and understand their silenced voices, feel genuine sympathy - and act accordingly.
Today, no one doubts the powerful potential of imagery. Art has always reflected and influenced society, whether intentionally or not. In contemporary art, the audio-visual medium can meaningfully connect people to one another and affect their senses in ways that instinctively cause us to reconsider our attitudes whilst altering behavior for the better.