Earlier this week on my way home from college I popped into a small gallery on the edge of town which is currently exhibiting two series of Nicola Greens work. Green grew up in London and studied at Edinburgh School of Art.
I was totally blown away by her collection’In Seven Days’, in which she followed Barack Obama and his team for 7 days of his Presidential Campaign between August 2008 and January 2009. She collected photographs, made sketches and had conversations, which acted as inspiration for the series of 7 prints she created when she returned to England.
At the exhibition I got talking to the curator of the gallery who knew Green personally, and had some really interesting stories behind the collection. One in particular that has stuck with me, is about when Green presented her work to Obama, just a few weeks ago.
This print called ‘Sacrifice, Embrace’ was one that Obama took particular interest in. When I first saw the image I noticed welcoming hands and a reassuring, optimistic posture, and when Green created this picture, I believe this was the representation she wanted to make. However only a few weeks ago when she presented this series to Obama in the white house, not long before Donald Trump became our new President, his opinion couldn’t have been more different. The first thing Obama said when he saw the picture was ‘Gosh it looks like I am drowning’.
This comment has stuck with me and I cant help but think that this was how he was feeling at that current time. 8 years ago this image was inspired by the optimism and hope that was around when Obama was campaigning to become our first Black President. However, 8 years on the political climate in America couldn’t be more different, full of negativity, racism and misogynistic views. Therefore this piece of work has been taken on that journey as well.
It also presents the power of a simple image, and the way it can be seen so differently through different eyes. I find if I change my perspective slightly I can see the drowning man, however that was not the first impression I got.
You can read in full about Nicola Greens series here: http://www.nicolagreen.com/In_Seven_Days
The other collection of Greens work was called ‘The Dance of Colour’ I absolutely LOVED this series of work, due to its use of colour and representation of culture and life. The ‘Carnival beat’ series has really inspired me in my own practice, giving me lots of ideas for my new project coming up.
I have always been a fan of bold colours and patterns in both art and fashion, and the mixture of portraiture, with an anonymous element interests me, as it it not telling you what you see, yet giving you the choice to decide yourself.
Here are a few of my favourites: