Isaac Blease's series Charaxes Imperialis was shortlisted for the second Jerwood/Photoworks Awards

Informed by the African butterfly collection bequeathed to me by my Grandfather, Charaxes Imperialis draws upon the similarities between the act of catching, ordering and preserving of Lepidoptera, with the colonial ideologies of conquest, control and acquisition.

This similarity occurred the deeper I analyzed the collection; as more and more my prior romanticized vision of the continent was being contradicted by family photographs from the time that depicted the bourgeois and illustrated an Africa in which the expatriate roamed free.

I began to see the selective amnesia regarding the mental and physical stain left by the adverse history of British interference in Africa being unwrapped visually and metaphorically in the forceful nature and methodology of butterfly collecting.

The resulting images were taken following the routes made by my Grandfather, which were annotated within the collection.

See here for more of Isaac’s work.

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