Cameron Ugbodu understands the importance of representation. The 22-year-old Nigerian-Austrian multidisciplinary artist lived in the Austrian countryside, in a small town with a population of about 3,000 people, until 2019. Here, the artist and his family were the only Black people. Now Ugbodu’s work is dedicated to what he didn’t see: Blackness. Through photography, painting, film, mixed media and curation, the self-taught artist also explores themes of queerness and masculinity within the context of afro-futurism.
Ugbodu’s first solo exhibition, New Mo(nu)ments, debuted in 2021 at the South London community art space Flat 70. The show featured six moving photographic portraits inspired by West African sculptural traditions. Each subject is surrounded by empty white space, with their beautifully intricate hairstyles and peaceful expressions as the centrepiece. Through his work, Ugbodu importantly depicts the softness of Blackness. His second exhibition, See You, opened earlier this year at London’s Doyle Wham, the UK’s first and only contemporary African photography gallery. For Ugbodu, it is paramount that his work is accessible and visible to the people he represents. Ugbodu told Doyle Wham: “As a black artist, I want people outside to see our work and not have it restricted from view for only the privileged!”
Text Hamila Jibril