The venue: The Gallery on the Corner, Battersea.
The purpose: The Private View of ‘Who Taught You’.
The date: Thursday 23rd July 2015.
The verdict: A night where kindred souls came together as a collective to gaze on the beauty of black women and see us stripped bare.
It was a vast contrast to those garish cartoon depictions of bare breasted black women that portrayed us as savages during the age of slavery and have since dogged the mindset of the Black community making us feel intrinsically lesser and ugly. Who Taught You took the stereotype and gave it a severe kick up the Wazoo into non-existence and then showed us what black women really are; graceful, beautiful and with a inner spirit that can never be broken. Every guest left that space highly charged with a feeling of self worth and confidence. In a word the experience was spiritual and cosmic, it spoke to the very pit of me and told me to love my curves, my melanin, my breasts, my broad nose and my kinky hair! And I listened!
The team behind the powerful exhibition, Nubian Nights Out are a collective of talented young women who came together to collaborate on events with the sole purpose of elevating and empowering the Black mindset. What’s extra special is that on the road to doing so they also give each member the platform to showcase their talents. In this case photographer Kim Williams.
“Every guest left that space highly charged with a feeling of self worth and confidence.”
The exhibition was beautifully curated and showcased about 30 women of varying ages, shapes, heights and tones, of which I was lucky to be one. With each image Kim managed to capture the model’s essence while also making nod to their vocation whether dancer, yoga instructor, teacher or artist. And the NUDES! Artistically shot masterpieces that showed the models in all their natural beauty and I tell you what, every blemish only magnified the model’s beauty. Salute must also go to makeup artist Georgia Martel whose talent was seeing into each model’s core and effortlessly bringing out their defining features.
Then as if the night couldn’t get any more magical, in walked Omar and I believe being magnetised by the immense power and emotion in the atmosphere that night dusted the evening off with his wizardry – an intimate and off the cuff performance culminating in the silky toned ‘There’s nothing like this’.
As I write this my thoughts invariably turn to all the news of late, of Sandra Bland and countless others who remain under the radar, of the multitude derogatory conversations around Serena Williams’ physique and beauty, of the Nicky Minaj v Taylor Swift twitter storm. Not to mention the continued Stateside slaughters of young black men by the police.
“…in walked Omar and I believe being magnetised by the immense power and emotion in the atmosphere that night dusted the evening off with his wizardry..”
This year has been fraught with adversity in the Black community and I can’t help but think that we are partly to blame for being too complacent and trying to fit into Western idioms rather than shout about the injustice we face on a day to day basis and embrace our “difference”. Well we are now making our voices heard and embracing our otherness! It’s time to unlearn centuries of subjugation and enslavement. Nubian Nights Out have started us on that road and started where it matters most, OUR WOMEN!
There is more planned for the Who Taught You collection of works and the Nubian Nights Out collective.
Follow them for all the updates and support the movement:
Enam G xxx
© 2015, All images copyright of Kim Williams Photography.