Ex-Colonies by Sam Wood and Jack Low at Six Foot Gallery
22nd September 2016 – 7th October 2016
A joint photographic exhibition from Sam Wood and Jack Low, Scottish-based artists and photography and film graduates from Edinburgh Napier University. Ex-Colonies features two projects photographed in Zimbabwe and Canada, former colonies of the British Empire. Both in different positions economically and politically, these photos attempt to position the audience as outsiders looking in.
Okay Coca Cola by Sam Wood
“I was in a market that sold trinkets to tourists and fake branded clothing. A shopkeeper remarked to me “What are you taking photos for?” He paused “Are you going to show the world how horrible Zimbabwe looks?”
Upon leaving for there I only had one goal; not to photograph Zimbabwe like a photojournalist. Zimbabwe, I should add, has banned the BBC from filming there. It is also in a period of political upheaval. Robert Mugabe, its aging ex-freedom fighter turned despotic leader, has recently been deserted by many of the veterans of the ‘struggle’; a major source of his power. Protests have begun breaking out including some the day I wrote this (Thursday, September 1st, 2016). Zimbabwe’s economy is stalling. I mention these things not because they are ‘in’ my photographs, as such, but more because they are perceptible in the edges of the frames.
“I don’t intend to”, I responded to the shopkeeper. He asked if i’d like to buy anything, “Okay, Coca Cola.” I said. And then I realised that these are the two words in the The Beach by Alex Garland; listed as the most recognisable anywhere in the world. I wanted to photograph Zimbabwe as how it is – as a site of convergence of cultures and of class; of local and globalised. We left the market and drove back to my Aunt and Uncle’s, passing gated houses, with razor wire and large walls. The rich and the poor. It seemed to be a land of opposites.
Zimbabwe is an ex-British colony. Knowing this and my position of privilege, I wanted to make my gaze and position evident – to reveal myself as an outsider attempting to look in.” – SW
Today’s Trends by Jack Low
“Niagara Falls is the town built to accommodate the rush of tourists to see the grand Niagara Falls waterfalls bordering Canada and the United States. It is an unapologetic assault on the senses: the garish colours of every sign and building clashing, the consistent sound and feeling of water from the (smaller than expected) ‘Falls, and the smell of fast food coming from all manner of eateries. It therefore did not take long for the majesty of Niagara Falls to be replaced by the curious and uncanny atmosphere of Niagara Falls, ON.” – JL