Spotlight Visual artist and performer Heather Agyepong￼
Hyman says: “The series uses the format of a carte de visite and takes as its starting point the life of Sarah Forbes Bonetta in the court of Queen Victoria. I was delighted to meet Heather and hear about the ideas behind the work. Claire [James’ wife and business partner] and I decided to acquire the whole series for The Hyman Collection. I think these were Heather’s first sales!”
He adds: “We are particularly interested in contemporary women photographers who use their own presence to produce performative self-portraits that draw from the photo-therapy legacy of two of the key figures in British photography of the last half century, Jo Spence and Rosy Martin. It was fascinating to discover that, whilst a student, Heather had attended a workshop given by Rosy and that there was a direct connection in their use of
self-portraiture to explore issues around health and wellbeing.”
Agyepong has been using both photographic and performance arts since 2009 to create a range of works that explore mental health, activism and the diaspora. Through her lens-based practices and performances that draw on her own personal histories and work at understanding herself better, she hopes to create a cathartic experience for both herself and audiences.
Her latest deeply personal work, ego death, was created for the fourth edition of the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards, which commissions early-career artists working with photography to make ambitious new work. It’s inspired by psychiatrist Carl Jung’s concept of ‘The Shadow’ – the aspects of one’s personality deemed inappropriate, that have been shamed and repressed, generally during childhood and adolescence, by family, education and social norms. In ego death, Agyepong explores her own shadow; confronting, and making peace with it through this body of work. The exhibition will run until 10 December 2022.
Hymans says: “It was fabulous to see this intense new body of work, ego death, premiered at the Jerwood Space. We believe that Heather is one of the most exciting young artists working in photography and look forward to seeing her next body of work!”
About the champion
Curator and gallerist Dr James Hyman received his PhD from The Courtauld Institute of Art. As well as being passionate about British photography – he has an extensive private collection with his wife Claire – he’s a leading authority on 20th century British art, especially the painters of the “School of London”. In addition to running his namesake gallery, which he opened in 1999, he is a trustee of the Robin and Inge Hyman Charitable Trust, The Hyman Foundation and the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation.