‘Monarchs Of The East End’ was a special commission by the Rich Mix Cultural Foundation, London to be exhibited concurrently with the series titled ‘Empire Line,’ a product of studies on MA Fashion Photography at LCF. Both works formed a photographic installation of 22 images, exhibited at Maison Folie, Wazemmes, as part of a biannual arts and cultural event in Lille, France (14 October 2006 to 14 January 2007), and at Rich Mix, London (5 February 2007 to 29 April 2007).
Being granted total creative direction enabled investigative methods of exploring new representations of indigenous and immigrant cultures of the East End district of London. An initial starting point was the traditional ‘Pearly Kings and Queens,’ with further inspiration from royal and imperial icons, patriotism, colonialism and commonwealth, criminal notoriety and the working classes. By integrating and subverting these symbolic references with stylistic elements originating from local street markets and vintage stores, I created a framework of characters bearing codes that conflicted and allied the notions of multiple and hybrid identities.
The aesthetics explored in ‘Monarchs Of The East End,’ draw upon cultural diversity, Diaspora, race and national identity. A conceptual approach was measured and considered in retaining the drive and sedition of the ‘Empire Line’ series.
Working in collaboration with Argento, Metro Imaging, enabled me to investigate innovative creative processes involved in producing digital black and white bromide prints, these large archival Silver Gelatin Prints were installed, untitled, in a manner that allowed the viewer to interact with the images and formulate an individual perspective. This preconceived approach demonstrated a sophisticated critical facility in relation to the project and its visual context in combination with the geographical locality of display.