Elephant’s Autumn Winter 2022 issue intricately entwines past, present and future. Anthea Hamilton and Zadie Xa appear on our main release cover, alongside Xa’s Pekingese Don Grogu Fizzgigmo. The two artists embrace alternative forms of identity in a dynamic photoshoot with Izzy Leach, complete with red contact lenses, sharp wigs and body-morphing fashion. “I think that we’re both constructing ourselves,” Hamilton suggests, as they talk to each other about the politics of pop culture and the rich potential of self-mythology.
On our special release cover, Ming Smith is captured in a moment of bliss, photographed by Adama Jalloh at her studio in London. She shares the early experiences with photography that shaped her career in New York, focusing on the “poetry of everyday Black people” and the changing reception to her work. “You think you’re separated from the trauma, but it’s still very much alive within,” she muses.
Meanwhile, William Kentridge welcomes us into his sprawling Johannesburg studio. “For me, the studio is both a physical and a metaphorical space,” Kentridge explains as he talks about the balance of chaos and precision in his work, which often stems from South Africa’s violent past. Interrogating complex histories is also a key concern for Lisa Reihana, who discusses her vision for ambitious works that redress the colonial legacy of Oceania. “There are things that you actually understand better when you ask actors to perform them in front of you,” she says.
“You think you’re separated from the trauma, but it’s still very much alive within”
Legacy and collaboration also inform five artists who place family at the centre of their work. Sadie Barnette, Motoyuki Daifu, Melike Kara, Amanda Moström and Bruno Zhu explore notions of healing and repair in tender, sometimes confronting pieces. Parents’ activist histories are unearthed and taboos are explored to powerful effect.
Photographer Vinca Petersen’s sun-soaked portfolio presents Ukraine’s near past, part of her 22-year exploration of the European country. These images are a far cry from the war-torn depictions seen throughout the news. “In light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, everyday images like these are more important than ever,” she says.
Elsewhere, writer and curator Emmanuel Balogun presents a selection of photographs that interrogate the experiences of Black modern men. Artists including Liz Johnson Artur, Elliott Jerome Brown Jr and Jeremy Grier explore themes of vulnerability, sexuality and loneliness.
In Paper Gallery, we question what happens when artists are not hindered by the practicalities of real architecture. Cui Jie, Cary Kwok and Sholto Blissett produce surreal, sublime scenes informed by the structures of the past, and the possibilities of the future.
“In light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, everyday images like these are more important than ever”
In our regular features, Toyin Ojih Odutola continues her series of original, intimate pencil drawings exploring lost opportunities; Rachel Maclean dishes up the late-night recipe she can’t do without; designer Roksanda Ilinčić talks us through her essential items; the life of Carmen Herrera is celebrated in graphic novel form; and novelist Amina Cain shares her revelation that too much can be just right, after an encounter with Kara Walker’s work.
As the world’s borders and boundaries continue to shift around us, Elephant’s latest issue conjures a hopeful future of collaboration and community, imagination and reinvention. From childhood dreams to fantastical alter-egos, we travel through time and discover new ways of seeing. We hope that you will join us on the journey.
Elephant Autumn Winter 2022
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