Photo of woman walking down improvised runway, wearing black dress and light blue shoes with hair styled in devil horns shape. People sitting by the side taking photos and videos on their phones

“From the Lens to the Runway”: digital installations celebrate Camden black creatives

A series of free digital installations marking Camden Black History Season was launched by Camden Black Creatives, in partnership with Camden Council.

The show, entitled From the Lens to the Runaway and curated by Emmanuel Sugo, Sahara Ashanti and Auda Sakho, took place at Outernet in London’s West End from the 18th-31st October.

The installations celebrated themes such as joy, freedom and community, as well as highlighting the wider contributions and successes of Black British artists across both Camden and the UK.

Multidisciplinary artist Sugo said: “These themes are things that are based on stories.

“Joy is a story. Freedom is a story.

“For me, it’s about creating spaces where artists are able to tell their stories, especially for those artists not usually seen in these spaces.”

Photographer, EDI specialist and Educator Ashanti reported: “The show has been very successful this year; the feedback has been phenomenal.

“A lot of the comments have been that we need to do it more often, with more events.”

The issue of universality was clearly significant in how the show was arranged, and Ashanti emphasised the importance of the free entry in being able to access the widest possibility audience.

She said: “Camden Black History Season gives us a chance to show everyone who we are, and we are able to reach a huge demographic of people who we usually wouldn’t be able to reach or might not be aware of the kind of things that we do.

“This increased accessibility is very important in terms of gaining a wider outreach.”

Echoing these comments, Sugo said: “It provides an increased capacity for different audiences. Outernet is great because for someone just walking by on the street, there always going to be a specific interest for them.”

The show climaxed with an artist takeover and fashion show, also curated by the trio above, at LABS House on October 28th, which included a series of talks and live performances on the impact and influences of Black music around the borough.

Sugo said: “There were lots of different musical genres, from Afrobeats, to classical piano, R&B and rap music.

“It was a complete mixed blend – like a buffet of music.”

Camden Black Creatives state that their mission is to “galvanise support and spotlight the work of established, up-and-coming Black creatives and those from a culturally diverse background across the London Borough of Camden.”

They added: “CBC envisions a multicultural Camden where all individuals and organisations could have an equal opportunity in the Borough.”

Sustainable Designer and Circular Economy strategist Sakho focused on addressing the disparities that up-and-coming black artists face acquiring a seat at the table

She said: “As an artist, and especially an artist of colour, it’s important to have a platform where you can actually showcase your work and express your thoughts through a number of different mediums.

“It was very important for me to bring in black designers who have been completely underrepresented and give them a place within the industry.

“I think we did it successfully and hopefully next year it can be even bigger and more impactful.”

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