Photo Fringe OPEN20 SOLO winner selected: Studio Lenca

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Following an international open call to early-career photographers, Studio Lenca has been selected as the winner of the Photo Fringe OPEN20 SOLO and will now work with Photo Fringe’s appointed developers to create a digital exhibition as part of the Photo Fringe 2020 festival launching 3 October 2020.

Photo Fringe invited proposals for an online presentation responding to the question: “How can photography make a difference?”

Studio Lenca is the working name of artist Jose Campos - “Studio” referring to a space for experimentation and constantly shifting place; “Lenca” referring to ancestors from El Salvador. Born in La Paz, Jose lives and works in London. Having first trained in contemporary dance, Jose received an MA in Arts & Learning from Goldsmiths University of London in 2019.

Los Historiantes is Studio Lenca’s ongoing photographic performance work, creating self-portraits dressed as a Historiante - an El Salvadoran folk dancer mixing traditions brought over by Iberian conquistadors during the colonisation of the Americas with Pre-Columbian beliefs. These dancers are to Studio Lenca an embodiment of an archive of trauma with contemporary resonance.

“I've never walked into a gallery and seen anyone that looks like me.” says Jose, “Los Historiantes is about asking a question about the absence from our curriculum, which artists are missing from museums and galleries and why? How can we allow colonisation to continue to erase cultures? The exhibition is a starting point for making new work collectively to imagine a more equal future.”

The online exhibition will invite direct audience response. Viewers will be prompted to reveal hidden histories and submit images of stories they feel have been erased from public discussion.

The selection panel was made up of

  • Monica Alcazar-Duarte (Multi-disciplinary Artist)
  • Mariama Attah (Curator, Open-Eye Gallery)
  • Helen Cammock (Artist, Joint Turner Prize Winner 2019)
  • Sarah Howe (Artist and Photo Fringe OPEN18 SOLO winner)
  • Steve Macleod (Director, Metro Imaging Ltd)
  • Sam Mercer (Digital Producer, The Photographers' Gallery)
  • Katrina Sluis (Curator and Writer)

Mariama Attah says, “Amongst the submissions, the panel found the many approaches to using photography as a tool, and showing how visual culture can communicate and advocate for social change, impressive and inspiring. In particular, Studio Lenca showed a commitment to an idea and demonstrated a desire to make art spaces more representative and reflective. I can’t wait to see this exhibition and see how audiences engage with it online."

Los Historiantes will show online at from 3 October 2020

© Studio Lenca, El Historiante en blanco, from the series Los Historiantes, 2019

© Studio Lenca, El Historiante Principe, from the series Los Historiantes, 2019

© Studio Lenca, El Historiante Cool, from the series Los Historiantes, 2019

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