"I think I am most dedicated to challenging the nation state and the way in which it oppresses its most marginal citizens."
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Where did you study?
I’m an artist from south London and I studied at the Slade School of Fine Art.
Your work is often drawn from on your own personal experiences, like your film "Brother to Brother" where you were detained at an airport. Could you tell us a bit about your films and your thoughts on the subject matter?
I think I am most dedicated to challenging the nation state and the way in which it oppresses its most marginal citizens. I am one of them, so my interest is not so much ‘subject matter’ but ‘subjectivity’, and how it is articulated politically. In this sense the work that I make is embodied in some way and often (but not always) personal.
You won the Jerwood / Film and Video Umbrella Awards 2018 alongside artist Maeve Brennan. Could you tell us about the commission? What were some of the challenges in making this film?
My proposal for the commission was to make a work that challenged the white supremacist conception of the nation state and its unilateral violence against those that are stranded at its borders. The current situation at the British/French border is dire and there were significant challenges in navigating an environment where survival itself was a grave labour. Documenting such an environment became a dangerous act of subversion and much of the footage had to be filmed covertly by myself and 15 days when the riot Police were either absent or preoccupied but always nearby. I managed to capture one of the instances in which I was accosted by the CRS at the border; a violent and dehumanizing experience that is all too familiar for those displaced in the camps.
Tell us a bit about how you spend your day/studio routine? What is your studio like?
I have to work a few different jobs so routine is near impossible but I’m working on it. Fortunately, I have a great relationship with my studio mates, so our working space is very social and it’s a real pleasure when we are all in together.
What artwork have you seen recently that has resonated with you?
‘The Fits’ for which I am extremely late to the game, and ‘Black Origami’ by J-Lin. Both have stuck with me/by me in recent months.
How do you go about naming your work?
I have no method really, whatever sticks…
Apart from your show at Jerwood Space is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about?
Plenty of exciting things coming up, but I’ll let people do the work to find out what they are if they are interested.
'15 days' was commissioned for the Jerwood/FVU Awards 2018: 'Unintended Consequences'. See it in exhibition at Jerwood Space, London, until 3 June.
All images courtesy of the artist and Jerwood/FVU Awards
Publish date: 30/5/18