Paige & Zeddie at Home
The truth of love. True love. Love's true course.
Love has been commodified, commercialised, used to create social policy, define gender, social stereotypes and sexual identity. Earlier this month I shared a conversation with a young woman, Suriya Aisha, whose work represents and empowers the lives of people of colour who identify as LGBTQI* through a safe space community called UNMUTED. This conversation, and watching the Black Lives Matter movement evolve, has marked important points along my journey of learning and un-learning my own white privilege and understanding the ease in which I’ve been able to express my sexual identity as a cis** heterosexual woman. After an initial google search of ‘true love’, the first page is full of representations of women like me. Straight and white. This provocation around truth is my response to the truth of love and forms the start of a long term project on a counter narrative in support of the visibility of loving relationships by black queer women. Over the next year I will work with these women as they narrate their lives in front of the camera.
We start in the Birmingham home of Zeddie and Paige who’ve been together for the past 3 months. Every month Paige patiently teases out the braids in Zeddie’s hair. “My partner and I show our love through acts of kindness and support - taking out the bins, cooking dinner, hair care and reading to each other to name just a few - as opposed to dining at expensive restaurants and purchasing overpriced jewellery, which we could afford if we wanted to. Love for me is deeper than attraction, physicality and personality; it's very much rooted in spiritual understanding, empathy and sensitivity.” adds Paige.
As a photographer, authenticity is more important to me than truth, as the truth of the image is often questionable. Behind the camera is someone's vision, whether from consciously or subconsciously, carefully at work, composing and constructing the scene. I feel that truth and photography often work in contradiction to each other. I use photography more as a form of narrative and representation. Accountability to each theme is important to me as an artist, as well as my interaction with the subject.
TRUE love is my response to society's construction of love, which works in symmetry to the equally constructed idea of gender. This piece for TEDxSkoll is the initiator to a long term project and I’m really excited to be sharing this in the TEDxSkoll Artist's Zine and in the space on the day.
*LGBTQI stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, and Intersex.
**cis refers to cisgender: denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex.
Alison is one of the Lead Artists working on TEDxSkoll, who have been commissioned to create a new piece of work in response to the theme of Truth. We know that artists play a key role in challenging our interpretations and preconceptions of the world around us, and have the power to make us think and feel differently on topics that are vast or intangible. For this reason, provocations from Alison and 3 further artists will be on display at TEDxSkoll, as well as featuring on our blog in the run up to the day. They will also be curating a publication to accompany the event, featuring their findings, along with artwork collated from an open submission process. For the chance to be included, please submit your interpretations here.