Please introduce yourself and what you do outside of the project in focus?
“My name is Glenda Gaspard, I’m a 19-year-old east Londoner and aside from curating the Black Experience exhibition, I am a singer, MUA and painter. I also study architecture and my passion to express my creativity is definitely the common factor in everything I do. Each discipline is another outlet for me to express myself. although the arrangement is diverse, whether I’m song writing, muse creating or executing concepts, my tools are simply echoes of my own single voice; explorations of myself.”
Could you introduce The Black Experience?
“The Black Experience’ is the title of my first curated exhibition. I curated an art exhibition consisting of art work from 15 artists including myself as well as an evening music showcase with music from some of London’s budding underground musicians. As a creative, I would say my passion and curiosity for music/art is innate. The title for me best captivates a stage in my journey of self-exploration, where I really got to understand the beauty of collaborating and sharing ideas and experiences, especially within the black community.
I feel with society’s various agendas to abate minorities, a narrative of division and internal conflict has been forced upon us, causing our culture of unity and healthy communication to slowly crumble away. The Black Experience exhibition is about raising awareness of the power of transparency – it’s about reminding people of the unmatchable reassurance and wisdom that comes from simply exchanging experiences. Through the various conversations I’ve had along my journey, I’ve had so many invaluable ‘me too’ moments – some even painful. Above all, each experience ultimately forced me to elevate mentally, again and again.”
What motivated you to initiate this, and what does this meet for you?
“Seeing a lack of relatable people in spaces that I aspire to be in, triggered me to create this space for us young creatives. I grew tired of witnessing people who didn’t look like me insisting on telling my story, our stories. The young black voice is one that is often silenced in the news, in schools, in jobs. For example, black figures like Serena Williams, Naomi Campbell, Raheem Sterling, Stormzy, to name a few, incessantly butchered by the media and only ‘heard’ when it is convenient.
It is tiring that this is the identity constantly forced on us by the media and TBE aims to be the resounding YES to answer the question of whether our experiences matter. Seeing my peers and seniors reach out to me and express the need for movements like ours definitely sustained my motivation to keep going and see the first event through. The negativity I saw regarding black representation put a mind-set in my head from a young age, that there is a level of success or qualification that I needed to reach/attain before I could get up and execute what I was passionate about – when in reality that’s far from the truth.”
What’s the goal for 2019 / do you have any other upcoming plans for the project?
“I’ve met so many amazing people through The Black Experience movement and I’m excited to collaborate with so many more amazing talents next year. The goal is to keep raising awareness and reaching new ears and I can’t wait to share bigger and better projects with the world in 2019.”
Where do you see TBE in the next 5 years?
“I see the black experience continuing to take the world by storm and occupying larger spaces. It would be amazing to collaborate with galleries and organisations like Tate Britain and The Barbican and share my curative input and help push the stories and experiences of BAME’s to the forefront of social media.”