The photographers Gallery New Talents 2019
+November 05, 2019
TPG gave a place to new talent or emerging photographer artists and showing their work over three months.
Dates : 14th June to 6th Oct 2019. Eight artists were chosen in over 1000 submissions from all over the world. There was no age limit, or minimum educational criteria and it was an open theme submission with no fees. The TPG curatorial team reduced the list to 50 and Jim Goldberg selected the final 8. From those 8 artists 6 were women. The talk and tour was divided into two, 4 artists explained their work in July and the other 4 did Thursday 19th of September.
This last talk was done by Chiara Avagliano (b.1988, Italy), Alberto Feijóo (b. 1985, Spain), Adama Jalloh (b. 1993, UK), Giovanna Petrocchi (b. 1988, Italy).
There are two photographers to highlight in particular because because they are two young women with a lot of talent and potential.
Chiara Avagliano (@chiaraavagliano) made a great and accurate introduction to her work. The words that resonate were: past, layers, new narratives through the personal, common place, new universe, Childhood spaces, secret, magic, mystic. The work was shown in her final show at university (London College of Communication, UAL, 2018). Its layout is a bit different from the final degree show but Chiara combined nicely framed colour photography with two big sculptures representing the landscape in a topographical context.
One striking thing about the presentation is the way Chiara explained her personal feelings and experiences being explicitly linked to the work which, on the contrary, felt very much related to a more common sense of a safe space and time in everyone’s childhood. When you first look at the work, it is not clear this is part of Chiara’s own memories and life because you can straight away link this intimacy to universal human narratives. And it works!
There are some landscape images that initially appeared to represent the same place while then she explained they were to create a new universe, a common space through different locations. A compilation of different places to feel safe.
The red lake is the mystic and secret narrative that links all the art pieces, but it feels like a lovely “excuse” to show and talk about all these different aspects of development of everybody’s life that makes us feel somehow at home. Sisterhood is another theme related to this personal and universal journey of growth. The link with friends, the need to be part of a group, the naïve stage, freedom, and mutual support.
The magic, the connection with nature in a very organic way when kids, the secrets, the mystic, the story tales, are things that we love and believe while kids and teenagers. We grow with those myths and legends, and draw values when adults. It's the parallel universe where we can hide, feel free and safe.
Adama Jalloh (@_adamajalloh) touches on similar issues but in a completely different way. She documents a Sierra Leone ritual called Sara, that she has take part in since she was a kid and how this was a kind of mysterious event for her and has evolved in her life in a very natural way.
She documents family and the different aspects of the ceremony related to death while trying to show a gradient of emotions that do not fall into one single category of sadness. The relation with different religions, the conversions undergone by women because of marriage, the fashion in the ceremony. She also records a conversation between sisters about their lives, moments of reflection, of sharing ideas and thoughts.
Looking and documenting the past and present through generations, her point of view, those of her mum and her auntie’s become one account of the making of her own safe space, the Sara ceremony, where to find sisterhood, shelter, and freedom. The work is displayed in a very classic way. Well framed squared black and white images are place on a single row, at eye level. Great portraits and reportage images. The words that resonated during her talk were: Ceremony, death, not only sadness, show new elements, Islamic, Christian, religion, intimate, respect, praying moments, conversions.
Both photographers are reminiscent of Svetlana Boym and the idea of Reflective Nostalgia, “cherishes shattered fragments of memory and temporalizes space”…. “it reveals that longing and critical thinking are not opposed to one another, as affective memories do not absolve one from compassion, judgment or critical reflexion”
Both photographers are looking to the past to understand and enjoy the present, not with melancholy but with reflexive nostalgia, projecting the past into the present and future. Building a new present remembering the past with new eyes.