The Fashion Industry has been quite silent lately on social and political issues. Of course, we heard talking about sustainability, working rights, but is this conversation represented practically in the fashion shows?
Taking a paradigm that starts from Oliviero Toscani's campaigns for Benetton, it looks like art is the main voice of this conversation.
I have seen Usama Kise's work during the last Shift Show at the Rich Mix, the Graduate Show of the Illustration and Visual Communication Course at the University of Westminster. His collages were opening the exhibition, looking fierce.
What stands out about Usama's pieces, apart from their visual impact, is the fact that you are pushed to look into the eyes of the people portrayed in the piece of art. The medium is consciously challenging your assumption of beauty, of gender, race and role, and question your sense of belonging. Am I in the right place for judging?
This is how he introduces himself:
I'm an Artist and Illustrator originally from Nottingham. Currently based in the heartbeat of London.
My skills are principally within mixed media and digital collage combined with graffiti. I document and observe the world around us, telling the stories of lives and their journeys as they pass through this adventure. I like to focus in on emotions being expressed and manifested in different mediums.
Coming from a background of graffiti, with 8+ years’ of experience, it played a huge impact on my prolific style and has gotten me to where I am now. It’s given me the opportunity to work with other artists, musicians and travel the world.
Examples of this influence are being part of the well-recognized documentary ‘Pride, Pole and Prejudice’, shown at the infamous Regent Street cinema. The film was nominated at 2015 Santé Fe film awards in New Mexico. I have also worked with political activist, artist and poet ‘Lowkey’ and have had the privilege of my work being a part of a DVD on the history of Nottingham. This art was shown at the Nottingham Trent University.
As I’ve evolved my style has moved away from typographic letters and graffiti to a move Illustrative expression. Many have described my style as a juxtaposition of expressive, aggressive and playful. I aim to incorporate a range of different techniques within each piece making each one individual and meaningful. A balance between raw art and having a sharp point of view.
With my work, I challenge the viewer to look from different vantage points and see something you’re not accustomed to seeing. Offering the viewer with an alternate perception of the given subject.
My work is a voice for the voiceless. Allowing for the opportunity for all to have a presence and to demonstrate that we are one.
We live in a world abundant with hate and divide, whether that be race, gender, faith or other. My work is created to challenge that divide from the very core. Allowing for a new vision to set in as we continue to journey.