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Emi Eleode is a London based Journalist and founder of Art History Talks. Emi's writing ranges from classical art history to social commentary in the arts and cultural sector. She has curated exhibitions at the William Morris Gallery in London which is but a drop in her many creative endeavours. Emi is the curator of the upcoming exhibition of the Fiona J. Williams solo exhibition: HUMANS AT THEIR MOST VULNERABLE FORM.
We are proud and thankful to share Emi's curated and analysis of the paintings Which will be made public on 2 November 2020.
Who? Emi Eleode
What? Writer, Artist and Social Commentator/Educator
When? Early 21s century (2020)
Where? United Kingdom
Why? Curator of the upcoming solo exhibition by Fiona J. Williams
HUMANS AT THEIR MOST VULNERABLE FORM
Emi Eleode. Curator of HUMANS AT THEIR MOST VULNERABLE FORM
Emi balancing formal and autodidactic education.
1. Please tell us something about yourself.
I’m a writer, visual artist and self-taught art historian living and working in London. Founder of Art History Talks. I write about things concerning our society, the arts and culture.
Tascha: Everyone should be following Art History Talks on Instagram. Emi's research is in-depth and thoughtful.
2. How did you get into what you do right now? Please tell us more about your journey?
I’ve had an interest in the arts for a while now. I always loved going to galleries since I was young and looking at all the amazing artworks on display. I didn’t have a formal education in art history but in creative media and journalism, but I learned many things about art from watching documentaries, reading, attending art talks and discussions, talking to curators and attending exhibitions and seminars. Having worked with the William Morris Gallery as a young curator and assisting in the curation of my BA and MA degree shows, further increased my passion in the area.
3. Who are your role models?
My parents. They taught me a lot about the world and always encouraged me with the work that I do and to live in my truth. I’m incredibly lucky to have a great relationship with them that I appreciate the older I get. Public figures like Maya Angelou, Angela Davis and Rihanna are people who I also look up too.
Tascha: Your parents sound like lovely and thoughtful people. Maya Angelou, Angela Davis and Rihanna are all compelling women that have made a lasting impact on the world. I also think Ms Angelou's work is such influential books; they are easy to read but somehow manages to keep you engaged with the book, months and years after you have put them down.
4. What inspires you?
I'm very interested in people and places and have a big curiosity of what's going on in our world. A lot of my inspirations come from random moments. I could be having a conversation with someone, watch, read or see something that sparks my interest. I could be scrolling through social media and see an image or video which inspires me with an idea for a project. I admit that I'm a magnet for information.
Tascha: We "met" through Emi's sharing her vast knowledge on everything that has caught her attention.
Chief Nike Davies Okundaye - Photo by Women Artists Updates
5. Please tell us about your work Emi.
I have been following Instagram pages like The Great Women Artists for a few years which gave me a big inspiration to start my own page– Art History Talks, at the end of December 2017. At first, I began by writing about well-known artists like Caravaggio, Vermeer and co. but soon realised that these posts aren’t new information. Many people knew about these artists. After an enlightening conversation with my dad about Nigerian artist and curator Nike Davies Okundaye, I was inspired to change the direction to talk about art from non-western countries as they don’t have the same recognition as western artists.
I wanted to create a space where I share my love of the arts with everyone from all walks of life no matter where they are in the world. I also wanted the space to be inclusive and accessible, not only for the usual demographic we see in many of the art institutions. Growing up, I and like many others were made to feel like we didn’t belong or had the ‘right voice’ voice to talk about art. I was frustrated to see the same visuals, written texts, exhibitions and media coverage which often didn’t include Black people and other ethnic minorities. A lot of the work I do whether it’s from posting on Art History Talks, writing articles, or creating visual work, is a reflection of the diversity of our world. I want to tell stories of the things going on in our society that maybe not many people know about or sometimes get forgotten in the hopes of educating people. I used to want to be a teacher when I was younger (the interest stopped after secondary school), but feel like I can still reach out to a lot of people from the work I do even if I’m not necessarily in the classroom.
Tascha: I think you have become a teacher, by sharing your knowledge with us. What I also like about your writing is that it is very accessible, as well as in depth. You remove a lot of barriers when talking about art, culture and society. I greatly admire that about you. I am so sorry that you had to grow up in a world were there were so many spaces that made you feel unwelcome.
6. What’s your most memorable experience in your field?
I’m still very new into the field but having my work featured and talking about it on The Great Women Artists was a great experience. As mentioned, Katy’s page was an inspiration to starting my own. It’s gone full circle.
Getting to curate the exhibition of Fiona J. Williams was also a fantastic experience.
Tascha: Emi says she is very new to the field, the field of art. She has however done so much already. She has researched and shared an immense amount of knowledge available to a vast audience.
Emi on communities and knowledge
Screenshot of Art History Talks on Instagram - Emi Eleode
7. What keeps you going when things get tough?
It might sound a bit vain but reading lovely comments from people across the world about the work I do is really touching. Sometimes we live in our own heads too much that we forget to see our achievements. I know that we shouldn’t focus on this but it’s nice to know that what I do is making an impact. Also having thought-provoking conversations with my family and friends does not only give me ideas on what to work on but it’s also good for the soul and stimulating for the brain.
Tascha: We are very lucky that you share your insights. You are a very talented writer, writing and sharing your knowledge. It has a very big impact, even if you are very modest when it comes to how much the work you do is needed. It is not vain, getting feedback that your work is well recieved and something you can be proud of. :)
8. What is the one thing you wish people knew more about?
A hard question. Just for people to broaden their horizon and be open to learning about different things.
Tascha: I look at all the work you do and I am seriously impressed how vast your interests and talents. And what makes you so special is how you manage to pull all these interests and talent together to offer meaningful insight and value to our world. I am very grateful that this solo exhibition could be curated by you.
A post about Quilombo leader Zumbi dos Palmares by Emi Eleode on Art History Talks.
Emi's art explorations
We are very grateful for Emi for her time and expertise. We hope everyone has enjoyed getting to know Emi, the talented curator for the upcoming exhibition by Fiona J. Williams: HUMANS AT THEIR MOST VULNERABLE FORM.
Gallery Sorelle Sciarone commissioned Emi Eleode for the curation of Fiona J. Williams exhibition. Everything Emi does is about making the world around her more nuanced and smarter place. Every interaction with Emi leaves your understanding of the world as a richer and more compelling. Thank you for sharing this gift with us in the upcoming exhibition Emi.
We encourage everyone to read Emi's compelling writing on Art History Talks, as well as see what else she writes about on her webpage. She also makes digital collages, which are very compelling and didactic. We look forward to working with her in the future as well as following her content.
Lots of Love,
Art Historian and
Gallery Manager at Gallery Sorelle Sciarone