“It’s all in the feels,” said Àsìkò, a visual artist whose photographic work explores women and ageing.
His work – on show at the Brady Arts Centre in Tower Hamlets – is being exhibited as part of the celebration of Black History Month 2019.
LAYERS is a photographic portraiture series featuring women from various backgrounds and ethnicities who are between the ages of 19 and 90 years, photographed in front of an evolving flower wall during a three-week period.
Layers of freshly picked flowers were added to the wall as the project progressed – the added layers represented the growth and depth of wisdom women gain as life progresses, while ageing flowers indicate the passage of time.
The women include a scientist, a Team GB gold medal winner, a journalist, a musician, an artist and a writer.
“It’s about womanhood and ageing,” said Àsìkò. “Layers of flowers was to signify how women get older with age. They have more wisdom, they become more who they are, they become more secure and confident. So it’s quite interesting to speak to all these different women and photograph them over the project.”
“It’s interesting to see from both perspectives of age how they felt when they saw the images. For younger ladies, they thought what their (older women) lives were like. But for the older women, it was more about brought back memories.”
As a visual artist, Àsìkò expresses his ideas through the medium of photography and mixed media. He was born in London, spent his formative years in Lagos, Nigeria and returned to London to spend his adolescent years.
His work is constructed in a narrative that straddles fantasy and reality as a response to his experiences of identity, culture and heritage.
“I believe that being a child of two societies definitely informs my photographs and the African side is something I’ve been exploring a lot lately. Living in the UK also informs how I create my work – as I’m currently exploring aspects of culture aesthetically and psychologically. So I think both of these things influence what I do.”
He added: “Understand the feeling you are trying to portray and let it flow through the work. You have to allow yourself to be raw, to be unapologetic, to be real.”
“For me, the work is all about the feels.”