Growing Concerns uses plants from former British colonies to reflect on the links between plant trade, colonialism, migration, and the legacy of these in modern-day Britain.These photographic prints are made by letting sunlight bleach the chlorophyll pigments of a plant leaf, without any additional chemistry or inks. The pigments are destroyed and oxidised to various degrees rendering a photographic print on a monochrome green scale. Plant leaves become the subject and object of analysis, the photographic substrate and the central element of an image-based research methodology exploring systems and histories of differentiation, exclusion and inequality.
The series alludes to historical and current facts and people. It utilises photographs from archives, press and cinema shots, portraits of abolitionists, portraits of personalities holding positions often reserved for an excluding elite, and a rare photograph ofBritain's black servicemen during the First World War, amongst other images. A collation of references that weaves a multifaceted, wide-ranging exploration of global migration and colonialism through the narrative of plant trade.Testimony is ‘burnt’ onto plant leaves which have also been traded and colonised, referencing questions of origin, trade and exchange. It considers the definitions of ‘nature’, ‘natural, ‘native’, and ‘culture’. What does it mean to be “of” a place? The centuries-old traumas and hardships, imprinted on the psyches and skins of many peoples that the work alludes to through the use of archival materials, are just as relevant today.
Growing Concerns brings together an experimental approach to sustainable photographic materials with the scrutinisation of a pressing social issue, focusing on the parallel between the historic facilitation of the movement of goods and the increasing prevalence of restrictions on movement for people. It underscores the unsustainable rift this dynamic creates, even so more as climate-related migration to fertile and habitable lands intensifies.
The title of the series refers to the ongoing and growing systems of discrimination, inequalities and global anger, reflecting on the raising damaging force of populist movements and the need to strive for equity and justice. Growing Concerns communicates the need for a reassessment of past and future perspectives as a route to an equitable, sustainable future.
Growing Concerns has been nominated for the Prix PICTET and was displayed in a solo show in Photofusion in Brixton, as well as at RAW Labs and Unseen Amsterdam. It has been featured in EXTRA magazine (FOMU, Foto Museum) Unseen Radio, Photomonitor, FOAM magazine, and other media.