Home gallery and Saint Ogun turn the lens on African and Caribbean diaspora in London
A four-day programme at Home gallery with Saint Ogun rum celebrates creativity from across London, Africa, and the Caribbean with an exhibition, film screenings, an open mic afternoon, and more
A new London exhibition and event series is exploring the meaning of ‘home’ as it relates to the city’s African and Caribbean diaspora communities. The show is a collaborative effort between the founders of Saint Ogun rum and Home, a multifunctional creative space established by photographer and fashion designer Ronan McKenzie.
The exhibition runs 2 – 5 December 2021, at Home’s north London space, and features a range of locally based artists including Latoya Okuneye, Sean Adeyemi, Antoinette Yetunde Oni, Cherif Douamba, and Liz Naomi, all of whom were selected as part of an open call.
The events calendar includes a flag-making workshop with designer Halina Edwards that explores the history and symbolism behind flags; an open mic afternoon exploring the idea of ‘home’ through the spoken word and poetry; and a family portrait session with Ronan McKenzie.
The exhibition and corresponding events encourage people to come together under one roof, to engage in dialogue with each other, to celebrate their communities, and to give ear to exciting creative voices. It is these very tenets that gave rise to Home in the first place.
As McKenzie said upon Home’s opening last year: ‘A new art space concept is desperately needed, not only because the representation within most gallery spaces is still not diverse enough to respond to and appreciate the incredibly vast talent that is currently working, but no spaces are able to offer programming that has community and artistic development at the heart of its practice.’
For this reason, the collaboration between Home and Saint Ogun’s founders, Nic Akinnibosun and Rico Oyejobi, seemed like a natural one. ‘Home is a space championing a community of voices and stories that typically aren’t always front and centre, in really artful and insightful ways,’ say the pair. ‘From our inception, we’ve had a similar standpoint in wanting to flip the conventional in an expressive way that highlights grassroots talent.’
Saint Ogun launched in 2020 and quickly garnered acclaim for its rum, crafted from five celebrated distilleries across Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados, including Demerara and Foursquare. The brand’s distinctive bottle design and name (Ogun is a Nigerian spirit known for craft, invention, and rum) hark back to Akinnibosun and Oyejobi’s Caribbean and African heritage, as well as their London roots.
That blend of cultures is what inspired the duo and McKenzie to make this exhibition focus on the meaning of ‘home’.
‘“Home”, as a concept, is usually something that offers familiarity and comfort,’ Akinnibosun and Oyejobi say.
‘That said, a lot of us have a duality or multiplicity to reckon with and that sense of “home”, or connections with elsewhere, aren’t always static, singular or even overly familiar. Through this exhibition and programme, we wanted to show the various sides of the word and how it connects to identity, potentially having a different meaning for each of us.’
When asked what ‘home’ means to them, the pair respond: ‘It’s always personal, it’s a place you sometimes feel you need to be in and close to, but equally, distance from it offers a perspective that helps you understand it even better.’ §