If You Don’t Know You Better Get to Know, Falmer Common Room Until Friday 21st November

Falmer common room is currently graced by a thought-provoking new exhibition by Sussex student Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson.

The photographs depict eight young ‘women of colour’ and are accompanied with transcripts of interviews with the subjects themselves, which explore notions of race, gender in relation to race, racism in our society today and indeed both the positive and negative aspects of a term such as ‘women of colour’.

Frankie, on the opening night of the exhibition, said the interviews were intended to give a more 3-dimensional depiction of the young women, all students at Sussex, than the photographs could alone. ‘I wanted to make them [the young women] come across more as active subjects than just objects to be looked at’, she said in a short speech to those gathered.

Another Sussex student, Becca David, gave a rousing talk (in fact the word talk does not do her justice, it was more of a wonderfully impassioned shout) about tracing her multifarious roots, and on the misleading tendency to divorce certain unsavoury elements of the past – for example the slave-trade and the oppression of women – from our present society.

The photographs themselves provide endearingly personal snapshots into the everyday lives of the young women, often pictured in their bedrooms or around Brighton (there is a wonderful picture taken on Brighton beach with an extraordinarily sparkling dress – take some sunglasses for that one).

A few technical aspects of the photos could perhaps be improved, such as the lighting and camera-angles in some instances, but overall the exhibition gives a good array of interesting and engaging images.

One spectator, Rosie Slay, said she really enjoyed the exhibition but thought that the written-up interviews ‘could have been edited down a bit, choosing the best answers from each person rather than giving them all.’

Some room for improvement perhaps then, but all-in-all a stimulating exhibition from a promising young photographer. Go along to Falmer common room and see for yourself before its run ends this Friday.

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The Badger

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