"The basis of my photographic research has revolved around identity on an extremely personal level, with my identity as a British-Nigerian female being at the forefront of the projects I have undertaken. The constant battle on the policing of Black women's hair and sexuality for example, are the themes I often explore in my projects.Since the beginning of my practice in question, there has always been a constant struggle when trying to determine where I fit in regards to my work, and within a socio-economical context. Using memory-work as a catalyst for my research, I work hard to develop photographs that speak to both me and others who can relate to my ideas. My main aim is to provide information on the important and sometimes forgotten histories that shaped the West Africa we know today, also bringing attention to the effects of colonisation in Africa and the diaspora. Projects such as ‘Irun Kiko’, give insight in to a very personal journey of self-discovery and my attempt to uncover truths about a cultural history that was not taught in the schools I attended, or even easily accessible when conducting research." 

Juliana Kasumu is a British-Nigerian photographer based in London using conscious imagery to highlight the interconnectivity of women, culture and fashion. Her subject matter is chosen based on a quest for personal knowledge concerning issues related to Africa and its Diaspora. By interweaving cultural research and stunning portraitures, she is able to express critical ideas with the intent of educating her audience. Photographs by Juliana Kasumu have been exhibited for the use of raising awareness to less spoken narratives by women of color.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Visual Communication from Birmingham City University, Kasumu created an on-going series exploring traditional hair statements within the Yoruba tribe in West Africa. Images from the ‘Irun Kiko’ series have received international acclaim, most recently being awarded the Renaissance Photography Prize 2015 for Best Single Image and making the shortlist for the D&AD Next Photographer Awards. Irun Kiko, based on Kasumu’s final year dissertation, served as the springboard for her career as a visual artist. Kasumu is committed to researching and sharing ideas that promote West African culture through photography, publications and public programming. 

In her most recent body of work, From Moussor to Tignon, Kasumu further expands on her cultural investigations from behind the lens. While serving as the 2016 Olaju International Artist-in-Residence, she has been able to develop both research and traditional, film developing techniques. Working towards reaching a larger audience of women sharing similar stories has been a driving force behind her creative direction. As a contemporary artist, Juliana Kasumu provides viewers the opportunity to engage with images that demystify preconceptions of black women and their bodies. 

Available for commissions.

The  "From Moussor to Tignon" photobook can be purchased here

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