ALMUDENA ROMERO

Growing Concerns uses plants from formerBritish colonies as a canvas to host images that relate to the history ofmigration and colonialism between the native country of the plant and the UK.For instance, an archive image of the Empire Windrush boat printed on a bananaleaf.  These photographic prints are madeby the bleaching action of sunlight on the chlorophyll pigments of a plantleaf. The chlorophyll printing process doesn’t require any chemistry or inks.  

The series reflects on thelinks between plant trade, colonialism and migration, and the legacy of thesein modern day Britain. It looks back at how trade of coffee, tea, poppy, sugar,cotton, and other plants generated migratory fluxes and it draws a parallelbetween the historic interest infacilitating movement of goods and capitals and the increasing interest in restricting movement of people.

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

Growing Concerns interlaces portraits oflascars (sailors from Asia who settled in the UK), Ayahs' (women from Asia whoworked as nannies in the UK) and immigrants like Sake Dean Mahomed, who introducedshampoo baths to the UK,  with installshots, archive images, and other photographs made during the production of theseries.

Some pieces specifically reference the Bangladeshi and Pakistanicommunities in London, such as an archive image of a demonstration againstracial violence following the Altab Ali murder in London in 1978, and aportrait of Mariah Idrissi the first British Muslim hijab wearing model.  

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