Hélène Amouzou / Armet Francis

Hélène Amouzou / Armet Francis


September 12, 2023
Hélène Amouzou: Voyages
Armet Francis: 
Beyond the Black Triangle
September 22, 2023–January 20, 2024
Opening: September 21, 6–8pm
Hélène Amouzou: Voyages artist-led tour: September 22, 6–7pm
Rivington Place
London EC2A 3BA
Hours: Wednesday–Friday 11am–6pm,
Thursday 11am–9pm,
Saturday 12:30–6pm
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Autograph is delighted to announce two new exhibitons at their gallery in London this autumn: Hélène Amouzou’s powerful work contemplating the complex emotions of displacement and exile, and Armet Francis’ photographs chronicling the lives of people of the African diaspora for more than 40 years.

Hélène Amouzou: Voyages
Curated by Bindi Vora.
 This is the first UK solo exhibition of Hélène Amouzou’s evocative self-portraits. These hand printed photographs are a crucial document of a migrant who has grappled with notions of freedom, exclusion, and bureaucracy—an attempt to recapture her identity and sense of belonging. Voyages raises important questions: What does it mean to seek refuge? What does belonging feel like?  What does it mean to live in limbo? What burden does the body carry as a result? The Togolese-born, Belgium-based artist’s distinctive imagery is created through long exposures, contemplating the complex emotions of displacement and exile.

Voyages will bring together fifteen years of Amouzou’s work. Autoportrait – Molenbeek (2007–2011) was created during a period when the artist was seeking asylum in Belgium, part of her two-decade long journey seeking safety and citizenship. In these charged portraits, she appears as an apparition amongst suitcases and the peeling floral wallpaper of a destitute attic: sitting, contemplating, standing, longing. Suitcases appear throughout Amouzou’s images, a reminder of the precarious situation that hundreds of thousands of people who have, like herself, been forced into movement across the globe due to political dissonance.

These works are shown alongside Amouzou’s most recent work Entre temps, Togo (2020–2021), translating to in the meantime, capturing the artist’s first journey back to her homeland in more than a quarter century.

Throughout Voyages, Amouzou’s elongated movements and extended exposures confront a sense of belonging and unbelonging, locating and dislocating—and a refusal of erasure.

“Self-portraiture is a way of writing without words. My aim is to reveal the deepest parts of myself”
—Hélène Amouzou

Armet Francis: Beyond the Black Triangle
Curated by Mark Sealy.
 For more than four decades, Armet Francis’ mission in photography has been to document the African diaspora. A Jamaican-British photographer with an acute understanding of black consciousness, his images are life-affirming moments that celebrate the resilience and survival of African diasporic cultures.

Francis immigrated as a young child from Jamaica to Britain in the 1950s. This experience of being unrooted, and politically alienated produced a profound sense of dislocation and impact on his life. Feeling culturally displaced, Francis turned to photography as an aid to share his desire to connect with the rich and diverse Pan-African world.

He later developed the idea of ‘The Black Triangle’ to guide his photographic practice from 1969. In the artist’s own words the concept was forged through a “personal need to discover the dimensions of the experiences of Black people…the triangle first came to me in thoughts of the slave trade route, that is how I came to live in the Triangle: Africa, the Americas and Europe…I had to capture it through my camera, through my work…A man reacting to his destiny.”

Francis’ photographic journey over 40 years encapsulates the fragmented experiences of diasporic communities. His 1970s Brixton Market fashion shoots are playful and rare frames of black joy and celebration. His 2008 portraits of those who arrived on the Empire Windrush are critical interventions that gave names to the faces of those who journeyed on that historic voyage that changed Britain forever. He photographed young black Londoners who took to the streets in protest at the lack of justice for those that perished in the New Cross Fire of 1981, and political activists such as Angela Davis. Critically, when viewed through the canon of British photography Francis has dedicated his long career giving visibility to a proud, radical individuality.

2023 marks 35 years since Autograph began working as a vanguard organisation within the visual arts. Francis was one of the founding signatories of Autograph, and Armet Francis: Beyond the Black Triangle commences a yearlong celebration highlighting Autograph’s ongoing commitment to curate and preserve the legacy of practitioners, like Francis, who have recorded important narratives that have contributed to British history.

Book tickets in advance to join us at the opening night. Book tickets for the artist-led exhibition tour.

RSVP for Hélène Amouzou / Armet Francis
September 12, 2023

Thank you for your RSVP.

Autograph will be in touch.


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