Cameron Ugbodu’s is creating new moments with his first solo exhibition ‘New Mo(nu)ments.’ On right now at Elephant & Castle’s Flat 70.
New Mo(nu)ments is the first solo exhibition by Nigerian-Austrian artist Cameron Ugbodu following their migration to London from Vienna. Presented in collaboration with curators Senam & Anthony Badu’s South London based art gallery and community arts project; Flat 70.
Cameron Ugbodu (b. 2000) was born in Austria and in 2019, moved to the UK in pursuit of his next horizon. Cameron is a queer artist and member of the Black Photographers Network, a UK wide group of contemporary black practitioners of lens-based fine art.
The show features a body of photographic work produced as part of an ongoing research project. Six slightly larger than life portraits take inspiration from West African sculptural traditions, including; the Benin Bronzes, Akan gold weights and traditional wooden and organic material sculpture.
As far as Cameron Ugbodu can remember, these busts and statuettes provided his first exposure to art thanks to a grandfather who shipped several pieces to Austria as wedding gifts from Nigeria. These sculptural traditions, Cameron Ugbodu proposes, belong in the public realm. In the wake of political uprisings that saw colonial statues torn down and truth restored to compromised histories, new monuments are ready to assume their vacant plinths.
Floating in a continuous white field, six portraits contour light, hair and human form to reveal a soft Black permanence. Hair and make-up artist Fey Carla Adediji collaborates with Cameron and crowns each sitter with surprising and innovative sculptural forms.
Rejecting the overrepresentation of cis white males, Cameron Ugbodu works with sitters ‘that present themselves from a broad range of backgrounds. The openness of the models poses, a visual language reduced to the essential, and the show’s installation invites viewers from an equally broad range of backgrounds to step in and see a little of themselves in the work.
Cameron entrusted to flat 70, a black-led community arts project currently poised within Elephant & Castles £4bn urban development. The non-profit space is itself a blank canvas and an ode to the tearing down of historic spaces and communities in SE17.
While new spaces are constructed in their place, with little regard to local consensus, home will be where the art happens. Cameron says, “I chose flat 70 because even in the location of the gallery, there is a history of things (buildings and communities) being torn down and new things being built without our permission.
The reason behind using fly-posting prints is because sometimes our art gets locked away or hidden in galleries. As a black artist, I want people outside to see our work and not have it restricted from view for only the privileged. Not everyone has the time or resources to go to a gallery, and you have to ask for permission to show your art in the gallery space. Putting my work outside where anyone can see and don’t need to ask for permission is liberating and free. I just want to show my craft and not have to answer to anyone else”
It’s less than a week until this exhibition comes to an end. Make sure you check it out in real life! Details below.
Show run time: 30th August – 22nd September
Location: flat 70, Elephant Makes, Sayer Street, London SE17 1FY