ALMUDENA ROMERO

Growing Concerns


Growing Concerns uses plants from former British colonies as a canvas to host images that reflect on the links between plant trade, colonialism and migration, and the legacy of these in modern day Britain. These photographic prints are made by the bleaching action of sunlight on the chlorophyll pigments of a plant leaf. The chlorophyll printing process doesn’t require any chemistry or inks.

The series looks back at how trade of coffee, tea, poppy, sugar,cotton, and other plants generated migratory fluxes and it draws a parallel between the historic interest in facilitating movement of goods and capitals and the increasing interest in restricting movement of people.

The title Growing Concerns refers to 21st century challenges, such us the creation of new barriers (the Trump wall, Calais wall, Brexit...) as well as the growing inequality, anger and support for extreme parties. It includes archive images of notable abolitionist such as Ignatius Sancho, Olaudah Equiano (Gustavus Vassa) and Ottobah Cugoano,along with portraits of contemporary top sports professionals, native from former British colonies, who chose to represent Great Britain at international competitions or played in British leagues.

Growing Concerns also includes portraits of lascars (sailors from Asia who settled in the UK), Ayahs' (women from Asia who worked as nannies in the UK) and immigrants like Sake Dean Mahomed, who introduced shampoo baths to the UK.

Some pieces specifically reference the Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities in the UK, such as an archive image of a demonstration against racial violence following the Altab Ali murder in London in 1978, a portrait of Mariah Idrissi, the first British Muslim hijab wearing model, a portrait of Mishal Husain, one of the first British Muslim BBC presenters, and other leading artists actively expressing their views on migration and on their personal background such as Shazia Mirza and M.I.A

The work was displayed in a solo show in Photofusion in Brixton, as well as at RAW Labs and Unseen Amsterdam, and has been featured at EXTRA magazine (FOMU, Foto Museum) Unseen Radio, Photomonitor, and other media.

Using Format