When I first saw Chin We’s work in photography exhibition in London it captivated my imagination. People looking through the lens looked peaceful and content, still, all of them had layers that told a deeper story about the subjects’ lives. This made me return to the photos and wanting to see more about what they hid within them.
Chin We is an award winning visual artist and documentary photographer. She was born in Manchester, England and spent her formative years in Nsukka, Eastern Nigeria and adolescent years in London, England. She is fascinated by humans, portraiture, capturing people’s essence and visual storytelling. Her work explores themes of identity, culture, representation, heritage and the African diaspora. Her photography also champions, empowers and celebrates contemporary African culture and the African identity.
Chin We is a fellow at the Royal Society of Arts. Her work has been published on CNN and several other publications. She was featured on CNN as one of the leading African heroine women photographers, nominated for RPS 100 heroines by the Royal Photographic Society England and won an honourable mention award in the People-Portrait Category in International Photography Awards(IPA) 2018.
Can you explain who you are and what do you do?
I am a Visual Artist, Art and documentary Photographer based in London.
What themes do you pursue in your work?
My work explores themes of identity, culture, representation, heritage and the African diaspora. My photography also champions, empowers and celebrates contemporary African culture and the African identity.
What role do you think artists have in society?
I think the role artists have on society Is dependent on the artist’s subject matter. An artist can provoke, uplift or lead with their work. Artist provides society with history, emotions, rage, colour, texture.
Can you describe a real life situation that inspired you to create?
My culture and heritage inspired me to create. The beautiful people of the African continent that I always see when I travel to the motherland. Also great photography by African Photographers in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s inspires me.
Why art? What does creative work give to you?
Art is free expression of human mind and senses. Creative work lifts up my emotions and spirits.
Would you say that you have an artistic outlook on life?
Oh Yes! Artists have structurally different brains compared with non artists.
What inspires you?
People inspire me. I love shooting people and telling stories. I am a documentary photographer at heart.
What would be your dream project?
My dream project would be to travel to the 54 countries in Africa and document the various tribes, culture and heritage.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist?
As a photographer! Just go out and shoot! Continue learning, read about other photographers that are in your theme of work. There are so many learning materials on the internet. Lastly! Go out and shoot!
Do you think an artist needs an ultimate goal in his/her work? If so, what yours?
For me personally, the ultimate goal is to be happy, focus on my craft and continue being passionate about my work.
What could you not live without as an artist?
My Camera, phone and note pad.
Where to follow Chin We:
INSTAGRAM : https://www.instagram.com/chinwe.me/