In partnership with English Heritage Shout Out Loud we are pleased to have commissioned four emerging artists to make new work addressing what heritage means to them.

The project – England’s New Lenses – offers the chance for young artists to explore heritage through photography and to tell the stories that get left out of the history books through making their own work.

For this project, artists aged 18-25 were invited through an open call to submit a proposal and portfolio. The judging panel, including artist Mahtab Hussain and activist Stuart Lawrence of the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation, selected four outstanding emerging artists with distinct visions and approaches to create new bodies of work inspired by different English Heritage sites. Over 200 applicants applied from across England for this opportunity.

Photograph of man on a horse in Lagos, Nigera
© Kemka Ajoku, Extract from My Brother’s Keeper. Lagos, Nigeria

Kemka Ajoku is a portrait photographer interested in shooting at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire. The Grade I listed country house is situated in a vast park covering three centuries of landscape design inspired by international styles. To the artist, Wrest Park serves as a prime example of the imported traditions that have shaped England’s history and influenced Britain’s colonial past. Ajoku will document the life of Black British youth, intertwining the duality of tradition and modernity.

Children on a boat in Ghana
© Abena Appiah, Boat kids, Ghana 2018

Abena Appiah is interested in exploring Black presence in Britain during the Roman period. In her work, she plans to explore Hadrian’s Wall and create portraits relatable to contemporary audiences combining archival works with her person-focused photography.

Photo of man wearing shorts covered in dust and mud
© Megan Dalton, Eddy, 2020

Megan Mechelle Dalton is a Yorkshire-based photographer who plans to re-tell the War of the Roses’ narrative through a new fashion editorial inspired by Middleham Castle, reflecting the socio-economic breakdowns during the period, which are still at play in society today.

Self portrait of artist Mia Park Tang at Flamborough
© Mia Parker-Tang, Untitled Self-Portrait at Flamborough Head, 2019

Mia Parker-Tang is a British-Chinese Photographer whose work focuses on identity, her immediate surroundings, and time’s cyclical nature. She will focus on her own relationship with England, time and shared history. Hence, coastal locations Tintagel Castle and Tynemouth Castle and Priory, with their slowly changing nature, will be the focus of her commission.

Alongside a production fee, the commission includes mentoring to help the artists to develop their practice and a portfolio of work for the commission. Each artist will be matched with a mentor whose own practice or professional experience connects with theirs.

A documentary film will showcase the artists’ journey, and provide an insight to the commissions’ production and will be published on Photoworks and English Heritage channels. We will showcase the work along with a public programme later this year.

These commissions are part of our ongoing programme of activity for England’s New Lenses. Previous activity includes an open call and workshop programme for 13 – 25 year olds.

England’s New Lenses is part of Shout Out Loud, English Heritage’s national youth engagement programme. Shout Out Loud is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Kick The Dust programme. Untold Heritage is an additional Kick The Dust activity funded by DCMS through the Youth Accelerator Fund.

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