Events

Love Is In Action: Black History Panel

29 October 2020

Projects

VR — The Time We Call Our Own

3 September 2020

Exhibitions Future Exhibitions

Exhibition: L— A City Through Its People

5 November - 13 December 2020

Projects

Harold Offeh — When Was The Time I Could Call My Own?

15 October 2020

Projects

Mirjam Wirz — Sonidero City

8 October 2020

Projects

Open Rooms #9 Access to Art: Who is art for? (w/ Mike Pinnington and Larry Achiampong)

13 October 2020

Projects

PLATFORM ISSUE 2: THE NEW NORMAL

7 October 2020

Events

‘Practice as Research’ – Socially Engaged Photography Network, North West

18 November 2020

Events

Weekend Exhibition: Illustrating Anthropology

12 November - 15 November 2020

Events

Laurence Westgaph: Liverpool Slavery Virtual Tour

27 October 2020

Events

Mirror Mirror: Online Film Screening & Q+A

12 November 2020

Exhibitions Open Source Exhibitions

DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY: OPEN SOURCE #18 – KELEENNA ONYEAKA

1 October - 31 October 2020

Projects

Tobias Zielony — Maskirovka

27 August 2020

Projects

Save Some Space (The Time We Call Our Own Online #4)

20 August 2020

Projects

Andrew Miksys — Disko (The Time We Call Our Own: Online #3)

6 August 2020

Projects

Oliver Sieber: Imaginary Club (The Time We Call Our Own: Online #2)

30 July 2020

Projects

Getting Ready: Amelia Lonsdale and Her Mum (#1)

23 July 2020

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions Open Source Exhibitions

DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY: OPEN SOURCE #17 – SAMANTHA JAGGER

3 September - 30 September 2020

Exhibitions

you out tonight?

10 August 2020

Projects

folio20: Hugh Baird University Centre

10 August 2020

Projects

Sarah Eyre (Untitled)

10 August 2020

Projects

Activity Packs for Older People

20 July 2020

Projects

Young People + Family Activity Packs

20 July 2020

Projects

Open Rooms #3: Photographing the Internet (w/ Mishka Henner)

7 May 2020

Projects

Open Rooms #2: Separated Together

30 April 2020

Projects

Open Rooms #7: Photography Does Not Love You (Katrina Sluis w/ Jacob Bolton)

2 July 2020

Projects

Open Rooms #8: Photography and Racialisation

9 July 2020

Projects

Open Rooms #5: Class of 2020 — Seba Kurtis in conversation with Mariama Attah

18 June 2020

Projects

Love is an Action

11 June 2020

Projects

OPEN ROOMS #4: INDEPENDENT (PUBLISHING W/ COLIN WILKINSON)

21 May 2020

Open Eye Stories

4 May 2020

Open Rooms

4 May 2020

Exhibitions

Online Programme

15 March 2020

Exhibitions

DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY: OPEN SOURCE #16 – PAULINA KOROBKIEWICZ

1 March - 31 March 2020

Main Exhibition

Exhibition: The Time We Call Our Own

3 September - 23 October 2020

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY: OPEN SOURCE #15 – JONATHAN LYNCH

1 February - 29 February 2020

Projects

PLATFORM Issue 01

21 January 2020

LAUNCH: THE DARK FIGURE*

20 February - 20 February 2020

Past Exhibitions

DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY: OPEN SOURCE #14 – SAHAN NUHOGLU

16 January 2020

Exhibitions

VISUAL RIGHTS

16 January - 22 March 2020

Exhibitions

THE DARK FIGURE*

20 February - 22 March 2020

Past Exhibitions

EXPOSED

3 April 2020

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY: NOW, FOR THE FUTURE – OPEN SOURCE X SHUTTER HUB

1 November - 30 November 2019

Past Exhibitions

Brilliant City 中文

30 October - 16 November 2019

Tong Yan Gai — Chinatown—中文

7 October - 24 October 2019

Exhibitions

HE 中文

17 October - 21 December 2019

Exhibitions

JUMP! 中文

4 October - 26 October 2019

Exhibitions

A Room of Our Own: a Fast Forward Women in Photography Exhibition 中文

17 October - 21 December 2019

Exhibitions

DINU LI: ANATOMY OF PLACE — (中文)

17 October - 21 December 2019

Exhibitions

Peer to Peer 中文

17 October - 22 December 2019

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Keleenna Onyeaka, Looking Back. 2000s
Keleenna Onyeaka, Looking Back. 1950s
Keleenna Onyeaka, Looking Back. 1900s

Interview: Keleenna Onyeaka for Open Source #018

This month, Keleenna Onyeaka shares his series Looking Back for Open Source #018. Open Eye Gallery Programme Assistant Declan Connolly fires over a few questions.

DC: Hey Keleenna, thanks for submitting your project Looking Back for Open Source!

KO: Hi Declan, no thank you, I’ve been waiting for the right platform and time to share these images and the opportunity to do so via Open Source this October feels right

DC: Open Source exists to platform early-career and developing artists but I was surprised to see how recently you began photographing. What made you pick up a camera to begin with?

KO: Thank you! It’s been such a rapid and exciting journey. There’s a combination of things that made me realise I had a passion for image-making, but I think the most profound experience was during the summer of 2017 when I moved to Lagos, Nigeria for three months. At this point, I was contemplating relocating to Lagos in the future. While I was there, I made an effort to take as many random pictures of my surroundings as possible so that I could refer back to them in the future when making a decision on relocating.

Lagos is a busy city, and visually it is easy to get overwhelmed, but during this documenting process, I found myself able to pause the noise and once I started doing that I started noticing I could anticipate moments and create images that carried a distinct message and story. The images I was capturing started felling less random, and I began to appreciate the power of the photograph as a medium for communication and exchange. After that, I decided I wanted to do this more often and started reading books on photography and bought my first DSLR a year later.

DC: I understand you have an interest in contemporary fashion but this series looks through a very specific history of style, what was the catalyst for this project?

KO: I’m very interested in African history and in particular Igbo history, but unfortunately, for someone in the diaspora access to this history is difficult to come by outside of what your parents tell you. But in a bid to fill in this gap, over the last few years I’ve found myself reading a lot Igbo history books such as the “History of Igbo People” by Elizabeth Isichei and “Igbo political culture” by Elechukwu Njaka. However, as informative as these textbooks were, as a visual learner I always got excited when I came across historical photographs as they had a way of making the history I was reading about “Real”.

After a while, I started noticing that a lot of the photographs I was coming across in some of these history books were staged, not in the sense of a family portrait but more so as subjects of study. It made me begin to question who was behind the lens of these images, and what their intentions were.

As I sought more context behind a lot of these images, I realised a lot of them were created for anthropology purposes. While this is important for the preservation of history and culture, it made me question who actually held ownership of my visual history. I felt as though the ownership of my visual history was misplaced or not as secure as I initially felt when I first saw these images of my culture over the century. This prompted me to do this project as a way of highlighting the importance of questioning the source ownership of your visual history. The project also serves as an attempt to re-document and shift some of that ownership back to me.

DC: Research into previous documentation of Igbo fashion and representation has played a huge part in how you have approached your model and subject matter, how did you decide on the fashion choices for more recent history? I imagine this must have been a collaborative effort in some way.

KO: Yes, it was collaborative, and I had the generous help of Steph whose a founder of OkwuID – a UK based platform who promote and celebrate promote Igbo culture, language, and history. For each look, we used a lot of visual references and selected looks that came up the most. But in particular, for the more recent fashion choices, we used Igbo pop-culture references and using styles seen in iconic images of Igbo celebrities, musicians, actors, footballers as seen in magazines, Igbo musician music Videos and Igbo Films.

DC: You’ve made a tonne of work across a range of genres in the brief time you have been making pictures but even in your street photographs, there’s an empathy running throughout; Your work always seems to be social. Do you think the photographer has a responsibility to actively engage with a public?

KO: Yes, I think visual information and communication is a massive part of how we communicate. With photography being a close visual representation of reality it’s ability to speak and communicate is more accessible to a wider audience than say paintings or even words that are arguably less objective in their representation of reality.

In order to make the world a better place and to help each other in our bids to navigate the world we share, I think anyone who has a platform and the gift to speak through photography, being a medium that can be easily read by a broad audience, has an obligation to use this tool for good. However, I don’t think this ends at just documenting or creating thought-provoking images I think there is also an obligation to provide context where possible as it is easy for viewers to forget that there was someone behind the camera when they see an image. Without this context, it opens the door for miscommunication between the photographer, the subject and the audience.

DC: Thank you so much for sharing Looking Back and for joining our programme!

KO: Thank you so much for bringing the project to light! Again I’m honoured and look forward to working with Open Source in the future. I’m also inspired by the recognition and hope that one day my work will be on display the inside of the Open Eye Gallery!

You can see Looking Back throughout October on our Digital Window Gallery and view more of Keleenna’s work on his website: https://keleenna.myportfolio.com/

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