Join us in conversation with a panel of Black women working across the photography industry as they discuss the importance of self-representation at every level of the image making process. Spoken word poet FLOetic Lara will warm up the space for us on the night with her soulful poems about women, identity and taking up space.
In an industry where the representation of women of colour is still frequently shaped by the white male gaze, this event looks to take a journey to a place where we can explore how we can reshape that narrative.
This event will be led by author of Negative Space, Bella Okuya who over the space of one year interviewed and photographed ten women of colour working in photography. She will be joined by two of the featured women: photographer Shilonite Simon and co-founder of production company Gather, Virgilia Facey.
Shilonite is a photographer and creative based in London. Her body of work is largely made up of portraiture, images of people and places that surround her, and her lived experiences.
Her work is mainly motivated by the act of documentation, as she continuously tends to photograph loved ones and her everyday life - championing the act of preserving memories.
Through her work, she focuses on photographing people who are Black or of ethnic minority to advocate for representation in front of the lens and create work that resonates.
Lara Lee aka FLOetic Lara is a Brixton born artist with a multicultural heritage which inspires her music, theatre & poetry. Lee has worked for over 12 years in the Arts as a live performance artist & creative workshop practitioner.
Sharing her passion for music & theatre with youth development, mental health & wellbeing and arts in the community, FLO is an experienced live performance artist, singer, poet, actress and activist.
Lee infuses rich, warm soulful tones injected with distinctive jazz undertones in her emotional poetry and song. Since the age of 17, she has carefully crafted her unique style on stages as far as Africa, Thailand, Australia and Jamaica and legendary venues such as Ronnie Scotts, Jazz Cafe London, St James Palace and the 02 Brixton Academy. She has worked with artists such as Sir Tom Jones, Omar, Ed Sheeran & Don E. Her debut project was recorded in the legendary Bob Marley Tuff Gong Studios in Jamaica with full live band. Currently recording her new EP, Lee will be giving old and new fans an exciting blend of juicy sonics, lyrical content & energetic live performances.
Virgilia Lee Facey is a Co-Founder & Business Director at Gather, a purpose led creative production company that connects brands and agencies to inclusive shoot teams. As a woman of colour working in the industry, Virgilia uses her experience in DEI to champion underrepresented groups and advocate for inclusion in front of and behind the lens.
Prior to Gather, Virgilia challenged barriers to access in photography for the Black and POC community through the diversity initiative, The Colour Balance. During its six years of operation as a non-profit organisation, The Colour Balance created a legacy of impact through workshops, resources, exhibitions, and talks made free and accessible to its community members.
Bella Okuya is visual artist and curator working across moving image, photography, and installation. Her work primarily revolves around navigating collective experiences of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) communities.
She is a Fulbright scholar in Photography with Parsons, The New School, New York. She has created two publications, a Mayor of London, Culture Seeds funded participatory photo zine about sight loss in the London, and a recent Kickstarter campaign funded photo book about women of colour in photography called Negative Space.
Each year, Autograph has an Open Call for event proposals from emerging cultural producers who are working on a new or early stage project. For successful applicants, Autograph provides a budget, curatorial fee, and support to help make the event happen. This event is a result of our 2023 Open Call: Identity and Self-Representation.
Autograph is a place to see things differently. Since 1988, we have championed photography that explores issues of race, identity, representation, human rights and social justice, sharing how photographs reflect lived experiences and shape our understanding of ourselves and others.Donate Join our mailing list