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

The title Growing Concerns refers to 21st-century challenges, such as the creation of new barriers (the Trump wall, Calais wall, Brexit...) as well as the growing inequality, anger and support for extreme parties. 

The series includes historical imagery of all kinds such as press and cinema images, fashion shots, portraits of abolitionists, Jamaican currency bearing the bust of Queen Elizabeth, photographs of contemporary sports personalities, photographs 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. To weave together a multifaceted, wide-ranging exploration of global migration and colonialism. The prints on actual plants reference questions of nativity, trade and exchange. What is nature and what is 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 in the use of archival materials are just as relevant today. 

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, FOAM magazine, and other media.

Using Format