Working across visual art practice, activism and academia, Ope Lori uses lens-based media to investigate politics of difference, often in relation to cultural and sexual identity. Her research-led practice, which includes writing as well as image-making, invites viewers to question power dynamics in both private and public spheres, routinely challenging societal stereotypes and myths.
In Lori’s new moving image works commissioned for Care | Contagion | Community – Self & Other, the artist explores her relationship with her father in The Lines Between Us (2020) and I, Becoming You (2020). Tracing their shared lineage of philosophy books, Lori creates a series of re-enactments in her family home in Essex, south-east England, to which she returned at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. In these interconnected multi-screen moving image works, themes such as family, culture, and diaspora are playfully addressed alongside politics of identity, gender, class, privilege and education: The Lines Between Us features the artist in a double performance – as herself, and as her father – reciting passages from Brazilian educational theorist Paulo Freire’s seminal book Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1968), while I, Becoming You juxtaposes archival footage of her father at home over a decade ago with a newly filmed re-staging in the same setting.
To contextualise this new art commission, we invited filmmaker Campbell X to speak with the artist about key themes in Lori’s commission and her wider artistic practice. This is published alongside a scholarly essay by Autograph’s senior curator Renée Mussai which situates Lori’s new film works in the context of Paulo Freire’s conception of changing human consciousness, dialogical action and performative re-enactment.
Transformations: In My Father’s House
Autograph's senior curator Renée Mussai reflects on Lori's new commission
Notions of Becoming: In Conversation with Ope Lori
Filmmaker Campbell X speaks with the artist
Film stills from The Lines Between Us / I, Becoming You
Ope Lori (born 1984, London) uses lens-based media to investigate politics of representation, often in relation to cultural and sexual identity. Her interdisciplinary research-led practice routinely challenges taboos and societal conventions.
Interested in positions of power and positionality, Lori’s multi-screen looped video installations such as I Want Me Some Brown Sugar (2013) and After All, Sometimes Just Changing The Point Of View Can Transform The Landscape (2016) confront different stereotypes deeply engrained in our social imagination. Lori holds a post-doctoral Research Fellowship at Transnational Art Identity and Nation Research Centre, University of the Arts London, where she completed her PhD in 2014. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including at La Fondation Blachére, France; Santorini Biennale of the Arts, Greece; 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning and Beaconsfield Gallery, both in London.
A former lecturer at Chelsea College of Arts and Leeds Arts University, she is the author of the forthcoming book, Beyond The Feminine: The Politics of Skin Colour and Gender in Visual Representations (Bloomsbury, 2021/22) and the director of PILAA (Pre-Image Learning And Action), an arts and diversity company which she founded in 2015.
You can see more of Lori's work on her website.
Initiated during the first months of lockdown in 2020, Autograph has commissioned a constituency of ten UK-based creative practitioners in our immediate artistic community to create an open-ended visual arts project in response to the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Working with photography, film and lens-based media, Autograph’s curatorial team Mark Sealy, Renée Mussai and Bindi Vora have been in close dialogue with each artist to produce these new bodies of work. The artist commissions reflect Autograph’s long-standing work advocating for photography and film to address visual politics of rights, race and representation.
Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other will be presented as a group exhibition at Autograph's gallery in Shoreditch, London, from autumn 2021.
Read our senior curator Renée Mussai's introduction to the Care | Contagion | Community project
View the completed artist commissions
Visit the Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other exhibition at Autograph
Purchase a copy of the Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other book from Autograph's online shop
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Autograph is a place to see things differently. Since 1988, we have championed photography that explores issues of race, identity, representation, human rights and social justice, sharing how photographs reflect lived experiences and shape our understanding of ourselves and others.Donate Join our mailing list