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My Top 5 Picks from Photo London

Photo London returns to Somerset House for its sixth edition from 9–12 September 2021, with a preview on 8 September. This is the first photography fair to take place anywhere in the world since 2019. Showcasing 88 galleries from 15 countries, Photo London once again presents an innovative public program of exhibitions, talks and workshops.

Photo London offers an array of artists from well-established, like Shirin Neshat whose Masters exhibition Land of Dreams will be shown in full for the first time in the UK to more emerging artists which are found in the Discovery Section. Despite the massive challenges of the pandemic the galleries featured in the Discovery section – dedicated to galleries less than 5 years old – continue breaking new ground. Galerie Number 8 from Brussels presents work by Prix Pictet shortlisted artist David Uzochukwu, as well as Ruby Okoro and Bettina Pittaluga. Prix Pictet also participates as a special exhibitor with a preview screening of the works shortlisted for Prix Pictet Fire.

Continue reading to find out my top five picks. These are artists you should have on your radar if you already don’t know about them.

# 1. Yushi Li (b. 1991, Chinese)

Yushi Li's work is a critical analysis of the gaze in relation to gender, desire and sexuality. Unlike paintings we've all seen through art history of the nude female figures next to a fully clothed male, Li's photographs offer the viewer an opportunity to view art through the female gaze.

Li is a Chinese artist based in London, working primarily in photography. She received her MA in Photography recently and is doing her PhD in Arts & Humanities at the Royal College of Art. Li was selected as one of the artists for Bloomberg New Contemporaries in 2018 and nominated as one of the 100 RPS Hundred Heroines in 2019.

You can find Li's work at the following booths: Arthill Gallery and Hi-Noon.

#2. Alia Ali (b. 1985, Yemeni-Bosnian-American)

Alia Ali's work reflects on the politics of contested notions of linguistics, identity, borders, universality, colonization, mental/physical confinement, and the inherent dualism that exists in each of the many countries she has lived in.

Ali is a graduate of the United World College of the Atlantic (UECAC) and holds degrees in Arts and Middle East Studies from Wellesley College. She then studied at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and graduated with a Master of Fine Arts. She has won many prestigious awards including the Alice C. Cole '42 Grant from Wellesley College, LensCulture's Emerging Talent Awards 2016, and Gold in the Visual Arts category of the Tokyo International Photo Awards. Most recently she was awarded the Chromatic Art Award as Photographer of the Year 2020 and the Lens Culture Portrait Award 2020. Her work has been exhibited internationally in museums, at fairs and festivals, including Photo London, Contemporary African Art Fair 1:54 in Morocco, Art Karlsruhe in Germany, the Lianzhou Photo Festival, China, the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, among others. Her work can be found in numerous private and international collections, including the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Princeton University Museum of Art. Alia Ali lives in Marrakech and Los Angeles.

Her work can be found in GALERIE—PETER—SILLEM's booth.

#3. Charlotte Abramow (b. 1993, Belgian)

Charlotte Abramow is a Belgian photographer and filmmaker whose work is about sexism and how that is a result of the heteronormative male gaze.She studied at Gobellins, L’Ecole de l’Image, where she graduated in 2015.

#4. Thandiwe Muriu (b. Kenyan)

Thandiwe Muriu's work depict female models in vibrant camouflage. By using the fabrics that envelope her subject, the artist reconnects with the glorious past of African empires. The women in her images while blending in also stand out in a very regal way.

Muriu has a background in business school and fashion photography and is represented by the French 193 Gallery.

#5. Maria Lax (Finnish)

Maria Lax is a London based photographer originally from a small town in Northern Finland. She is known for her use of colour and experimental camera techniques. Recent commercial clients include British Telecom, Virgin Records, Glass Magazine and Panasonic.

Some Kind of Heavenly Fire by Maria Lax investigates the strange events recorded and archived in her grandfather’s notebook. A local journalist from a remote region of Northern Finland, he had become captivated by stories of supernatural events, bravery and struggle against hardship in what is a largely barren land.

Image of author at Photo London 2021.

If you are not able to make it to the fair in person, don’t worry! Photo London Digital also returns for its second edition from 9–28 September. The digital fair will supplement the physical event, allowing participation to those unable to travel.

Photo London Digital

8–28 September 2021, and


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