Fauziya Johnson

My work specialises in photography and drawing, where the subject matter consists predominately of portraiture of people of colour within North West communities. A section of my portfolio is also of modern architectural structures within the U.K, as I link certain issues of this modernism to my Black identity. Photography is my raison d'être because of the freedom of documentation, archiving and expression derived from the platform. My drawings are generally figurative or methodical in preparation for a photoshoot.

Contextually, my work challenges the continual issues of systemic racist practice of Orientalism, exoticism, and fetishism, relating this to the discourse of people’s cultural opinions within the Afro-Caribbean community in the U.K today. This primary focus has several tributaries, which include: cultural appropriation, modern feminism and anthropology. During my last year at Liverpool Hope University in my Fine Art degree, I co-founded ROOT-ed Zine, which we specialise in promoting and positively representing creative people of colour within the North West of England.

Who is your biggest inspiration for your art form?

 

My biggest inspirations would be: Jesse Kanda (digital artist); Jenny Saville (YBA painter); FKA Twigs (music performer and artist); and finally, Ren Hang. Aesthetically these artists create a feeling within me that is similar to bravado when I am making art. Contextually, the works of Zanele Muholi, Lubaina Himid, and Robert Mapplethorpe inspire me.

 

Is your art form politically, emotionally, historically, or socially charged?

 

Politically yes- I detest the majority of capitalist and classist policies that we are forced to engage within the Western hemisphere. Historically, most definitely. Whether it’s my history that captured in short, abstract reveries or serious crime inflicted upon people of colour in bygone times. Emotionally and socially the subject of Orientalism by Edward Said informed me deeply of the power relations within everyday life, between races, genders, disabilities, genders, etc… From researching this topic, it helped me question every interaction I encounter or witness, as to whom is the ‘dominant’ and comparatively, the ‘submissive’.

 

When did you start becoming engaged withyour art practice?

 

When I was really young. I remember very vaguely of me trying to impress my mum with a piece of artwork that to me, represented ‘God’. I don’t think I was aware of abstraction of minimalism back then, therefore the ripped piece of white paper was a flippant attempt… I started taking art seriously when I enrolled in a full-time BTEC Art and Design course at Liverpool Community College in 2014- now I am in a Fine Art BA in my last year.

 

What are your main art forms?

 

I paint when I am feeling low in mood. I tend to draw when I am feeling emotions intensely- mainly frustration, otherwise, I only utilise it to make plans for exhibitions or photoshoot planning. My only medium tends to be photography on a DSLR or Polaroid. My photographs tend to be literal responses to the current issues in the UK and beyond, and simultaneously the exploration of my experience as a black woman. So as you can probably guess, the images are mainly self-portraits.

 

What issues do you generally want to combat now, and in the future, regarding the society you are in/others are in around the world?

 

Literally, everything that is unjust. If I keep on going I’ll end up combatting myself. Which I don’t dispute really, as everyone needs a bit of a reality check once in a while. On a serious note, I feel the stereotypes of black people, the police brutality, the modern slavery, and in general institutionalised racism present everywhere is something I want to go.

 

How do you think ethnic minorities within the North West can be supported, recognised, and represented more within the creative communities?

 

Hopefully, his Zine will get you all to be supported! Otherwise, just the support between ethnic minorities for each other socially and politically will make so much of a difference to our confidence- especially in the ‘normative’ features present in the contemporary art world.

 

@fauziyajohnson

 

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