© Mohammed Ainan
Lambeth’s Town Hall Arts Programme and Photofusion are pleased to announce the opening of Spectemur Agendo – By Our Actions May We Be Known.
The exhibition explores the theme of leadership within communities across the borough. It features portrait photographs of Lambeth residents taken by four Lambeth based artists in receipt of their first public art commission as well as a written response to the work by author Irfan Master.
The photographic artists – Mohammed Ainan, Ellie Laycock, Dee Ramadan, and Angus Stewart – were inspired by a set of commemorative portraits of Lambeth councillors taken in 1903, when the Town Hall first opened and borough we know today was formed.
The historic images were taken by Richard Lang Sims, whose photographic studio was on Brixton Road at the site of the current Underground entrance. Sims later became Mayor of Lambeth and in that same year – 1922 – the borough’s motto Spectemur Agendo was adopted – translated as By Our Actions May We Be Known.
In response, Ainan, Laycock, Ramadan and Stewart spent time meeting community leaders during what proved to be an unprecedented time of upheaval. The portraits they made consider the quiet heroism and leadership within Lambeth’s communities and pay tribute to ordinary citizens who have been engaged in extraordinary actions. The subjects of the portraits are sports, cultural, spiritual, political, charitable and public health leaders.
Cllr Sonia Winifred, cabinet member for Equalities and Culture, said:
“The vivid and striking photographs give real insight into the astonishing leadership that is present everyday right across Lambeth. Over the next few months I hope as many people as possible visit the Town Hall to explore the exhibition and learn more about the stories behind the images.”
Due to the impacts of Covid-19, the exhibition has been two years in the making. Photofusion launched an open call for photographers in 2019, with support from Lambeth Townhall Arts Programme and Arts Council England.
The exhibition is now open and runs until later this year at Lambeth Town Hall. Entrance is free, between 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. Lambeth Town Hall is following government guidelines on social distancing. Please wear a mask at all times when in the building unless exempt.
© Ellie Laycock © Dee Ramadan
Ellie Laycock is a Brixton-based artist whose photographic practice explores the urban environment and its impact on its residents, ideas of power and control, politics and the passage of time. Her work often incorporates elements of historical research and, due to her original training as a fine art sculptor, sometimes 3D objects.
Lambeth-based photographer Angus Stewart specialises in social documentary photography and portraiture. He is currently working with Global Disability Innovation Hub on a programme called AT2030 – Life Changing Assistive Technology for All, documenting the charity’s work with activists and AT users.
Brixton-based portrait photographer Dee Ramadan works mostly in advertising and editorial. His personal work is centred on socially engaged projects, social documentary and more conceptual projects exploring dystopian parallel universes with themes on mental health and the complex feeling of unease that comes from our hyper-normalised societies.
Angell Town-based photographer Mohammed Ainan is a documentary photographer and portrait artist. He works with his sitters in their own environments, drawing inspiration from the intensity of a moment, then translating it into an image. He enjoys taking pictures within his own community and highlighting the beauty or the pain in an image.
© Angus Stewart