ego death is a new body of work inspired by psychiatrist Carl Jung’s concept of ‘the Shadow’. Both deeply personal and universal at the same time, it presents an exploration of self-discovery, imperfection, compassion and radical acceptance. According to Jung, ‘the Shadow’ is comprised of aspects of one’s personality deemed inappropriate, that may have been shamed and repressed – often during childhood and adolescence – by family, education, social norms and other external factors. Over the past 12-months Heather Agyepong has been discovering and exploring her own shadow; unpacking ideas around shame, observing what she projects onto other people and using free writing/painting techniques in an attempt to confront and make peace with it.

Through this journey, Agyepong has identified seven different characters which are the subject of the photographs in ego death: The O Daughter, Saboteur, D is for…, Georgina, Lot’s Wife, Only Pino and Somebody Stop Me. In an installation comprising photographs, textiles, sound and text, she creates an arresting visual language using double exposure to reveal how her shadow characters shows up unconsciously in the world. Inspired by Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, Agyepong instinctively chooses to use blue hues as the colour palette for her self-portraits, symbolising the state of vulnerability and deep truth telling she put herself through in creating ego death. 

Including an extract of text from her own free writing practice, Agyepong invites us – the audience – to self-reflect on our own shadows, closing with the words: ‘I’m reintroducing myself, I’m reintroducing.’ 

© Heather Agyepong, Somebody Stop Me, from the series ego death, 2022.

Heather Agyepong is a visual artist, performer and actor living and working in London. Her art practice concerns mental health and wellbeing, invisibility, the diaspora and the archive. Agyepong uses lens-based practices and performance to culminate a cathartic experience for both herself and the viewer. She adopts the technique of re-imagination to engage with communities of interest and the self as a central focus within the image. 

Her works have been published, performed and exhibited around the UK and internationally, and are held in several collections, including Autograph ABP, Centre national des arts plastiques, Hyman Collection, 

New Orleans Museum of Art, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and Mead Art Museum. 

Agyepong has been nominated for Prix Pictet & Paul Huf Award in 2016, 2018 and 2021, received the Firecracker Photographic Grant 2020 and was selected as part of Foam Talent 2021 and The Photographers Gallery New Talent Award in 2021. Agyepong was made Nikon Ambassador in Summer 2022. 

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