Since its inception in 2016, Peckham 24 has championed emerging and established artists working with photography. It has become an annual celebration event during Photo London Week, welcoming all interested in contemporary photographic practice.
Alongside its festival weekend, which runs from 12 – 14 May, and takes place in the Bussey Building and Copeland Park Gallery, Peckham 24 is delighted to return to South London Gallery for a second year. The invitation sees Peckham 24 continue to develop its cultural partnerships and grow the festival’s reach across its home in southeast London.
This year represents the first iteration of an extended exhibition programme, with Peckham 24 artists exhibiting across galleries 3 and 4 in SLG’s Fire Station. Together, Peckham 24 and South London Gallery present solo shows for two artists responding to the festival’s 2023 curatorial theme of BODY LANGUAGE. Fion Hung will present her series The Skeletons in the Closet (2021-22). Marvel Harris will have a solo show of his long-term body of work, Inner Journey (2014-ongoing). Both exhibitions are free and will be shown from 12 May to 11 June 2023.
Fion Hung Ching-Yan (b. 1993, Hong Kong) uses photo collages to create colourful, often surreal, highly staged photographs that unsettle as much as they delight. After the passing of her grandmother in 2016, Hung began to reflect on the hierarchies in her own and other familial relationships. The Skeletons in the Closet is based on the Chinese folktale 24 Paragons of Filial Piety, in which loyalty to your elders is valued above all else. It was a collection her dad would read to her when she was younger, and, like many of us, such childhood stories impacted her understanding of the world as an adult.
In her surreal reimagining of these folktales and in subverting their focus on sons over daughters, Hung questions how specific values and gender roles are inherited across generations. Through her absurd and uncanny domestic scenes, Hung playfully rebels against an invisible but felt authority. “I hope that viewers reflect on the preset values they are living by,” she says, “and ask themselves whether those values are worth following.”
In Inner Journey, Marvel Harris (b. 1995, Netherlands) turns the camera inwards through a series of revealing self-portraits, reflecting on his experiences as a transgender person and his struggles with his mental health. Harris began using photography as a therapeutic tool when he was 18, finding in self-portraiture a means of expression he struggled to communicate elsewhere as an autistic adult living with gender dysphoria.
“The process of making these portraits allowed me to connect to the world around me at the time I needed it most”, he has said.
The results trace Harris’ gender transition and his search to find himself. Alongside intense moments of sadness, there are also revelatory flashes of joy. We see Harris euphoric after his first swim following his top surgery in 2018, or serene, floating in water. While deeply personal, the vulnerability that Harris shows throughout this long-term series becomes a way to speak with others rather than to them. He invites us to undertake the same process of self-reflection, considering how our bodies perform under the weight of gender or other social expectations.
The series particularly reaches out to those who do not see themselves represented within such fixed identities to help them feel less alone.
The gallery is open Tuesday – Sunday www.southlondongallery.org
South London Gallery, Main Building , 65–67 Peckham Road, London SE5 8UH, United Kingdom.
South London Gallery, Fire Station , 82 Peckham Road, London SE15 5LQ, United Kingdom.