A series of gorgeous new analogue photography by British-Asian photographer Suki Dhanda tackles the thorny subject of Brexit, through " focusing on families by the seaside who might not feel so welcome in the UK since the vote to leave the EU," says the space showing the work, The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art.
Dhanda Suki, a former student of the university, has been taking photos primarily for the Observer and Guardian weekend supplements since 1998 and has shot everyone from Rihanna and Nick Cave to Tony Blair, Sir David Attenborough, Karen Gillan and Yoko Ono. As with much of her personal work, the images going on show examine ethnicity, people and place. “My own upbringing has largely influenced my personal work, which explores ideas and themes of diversity and belonging," she says. "My parents settled in the UK from India in the mid-60s. I was born here and identify myself as a British Asian, being raised with a mix of both English and Asian culture.”
This new body of work created for the show Race, Place & Diversity by the Seaside will explore the changing face of Plymouth’s population, visualising and exploring the diverse community in the British seaside area. The portraits were taken following six months Dhanda spent visiting Plymouth and will be displayed in The Gallery, which has in the past shown work by Martin Parr and Matt Stokes, as well as hosting the British Art Show 7.
“I found the idea that Britain was heading towards Brexit very depressing,” says Dhanda. “A couple of months after the vote, I visited Margate on a beautiful sunny day, and the beach was full of people from all backgrounds, an eclectic mix of colours and ethnicities, drawn to the sea for a day out with loved ones. It put a smile back on my face.
“I still had that image in my mind when I was approached by The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art to develop some new work for an exhibition. I wanted to find out whether that scene in Margate translated to other places in the UK, and I wanted to investigate diversity in Plymouth and how people celebrate the place they are in and the environment around them.”
Race, Place & Diversity by the Seaside will be on show at The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art from today until 22 Mar 2018. Suki Dhanda will give a talk at the college on 21 Feb from 5.30pm - 7pm, admission is free.