Melanie Issaka, Locating the Personal

5 November — 17 December 2022

For the first time we present in a solo exhibition the two series Locating the Personal and Blueprint: Black Skin White Mask by the Ghanaian-British artist Melanie Issaka.

Melanie Issaka likes to work with cameraless photography. Using life-size color photograms, she imprints her own body into the photographic material. By exploring the spaces she simultaneously creates and occupies, and engaging with the materiality of her hair and body, Melanie Issaka produces images that blur the boundaries between the self and the other. 

Working with cyanotypes in her Blueprint series, she presents her body as a white void shape, thus examining issues of simultaneous presence and absence, hyper-visibility and invisibility, and the representation of the Black female body in the history of art and photography.

“For too long the camera has aimed to “capture” Blackness, to jar it shut, and trap it within chemicals and paper, to be used however the white eye deems fit. The perceived Black body rarely gets to rest, lie down, and simply exist. Issaka rejects this “violent” photography, replacing it with her own Black psychogeography. In her images, Blackness does whatever Blackness wants.“ Isaac Huxtable in his catalogue essay

Melanie Issaka (b. 1994, Ghana) is a visual artist and freelance photographer living and working in London, UK. She graduated from The Royal College of Art with a Photography MA, having previously studied Graphic Design BA at The University of Brighton.

Melanie aims to develop a social practice concerned with documentation, representation and archiving with reference to the intersectionality of Race and Gender, as well as exploring the materiality of print and lens-based media.