Zemni Illustration

I am a visual artist based in Cambridge, UK.

Image-making is my way of living, experiencing life and discovering new ways of looking at the world around me. Some of my work is political. Some emotionally dark. Other more ‘human’ work aims to help myself and others laugh and ‘look on the bright side of life’.

 I work in a range of media. The basis is generally photography or sketching and painting from life in natural media or on my iPad. These images may then be collaged as the narrative basis for further development in different drawing, painting or printmaking media, digital software or animation. Some of my work is more experimental and abstract, exploring the range of intentional and accidental effects that can be achieved in different media, then adapting these and pushing the range of styles I can produce in other very different media. I am also interested in different forms of narrative. Some of my images are brought together as books, on-line experiences or moving image.

Much of my work has been around journeys and social and political issues in Africa and Asia connected to my professional work as consultant with international development agencies. My current work increasingly focuses on issues nearer to home – the social and environmental challenges we face in Europe and my own responsibilities within that. Alongside my own artistic practice I hope – beyond COVID – to support processes for international collaborative art, photography, video and web communications as part of peoples’ own documentation of their lives, building on participatory methodologies I used overseas.

Zemni Illustration blog brings together my work, research and thoughts for Open College of the Arts Visual Communications level 3 module: Advanced Practice.

My work for this module develops an evolving idea of ‘Zemni Voice’ and what this might mean for a coherent and consistent approach to my work in UK and internationally. Resolving the hitherto schizophrenia between visual communication linked to my professional consultancy and more fun ‘meaning of life’ work I enjoy as the basis for UK-based practice going forward. I start to develop a framework for ‘activist creativity’ as an experimental creative approach that is underpinned by ethical commitments, without being bound by a single rigid ‘recognisable style’ or limiting the range of potential types of work I find interesting and worthwhile.

The COVID-19 pandemic presented many challenges – particularly for documentary and audience-based work in Assignments 4 and 5, and because of self-isolation I did not have access to my art and printmaking studios between March 2019 and April 2020. This led to a greater emphasis on digital photography and Photobooks than I intended. But it also provided motivation and opportunities to develop new ways of on-line working and networking, and experimentation with dry and kitchen-friendly water-based media that will be more personally and environmentally sustainable going forward.

PLEASE NOTE: BECAUSE OF CONTINUAL WORDPRESS UPDATES, ongoing in September 2021, some of the posts on this blog have become wrongly formatted, and some links to media no longer work. I have done the best I can.

‘Lost Reflections’: VCAP Assessment Portfolio

Padlet of links to galleries on Zemni Images SMUGMUG portfolio website, Blurb photobooks and supporting blog posts. (to open the padlet, click on the square with arrow on the top right below. Then to open the ‘paddles’ click on the title or image, whichever shows a ‘hand’. If no hand shows, click on three dots top right and expand. To close, check whether or not the ‘paddle’ has opened in a separate window on your browser. Closing that will bring you back to the original padlet.)

Made with Padlet

Other blogs and websites

This Visual Communications Advanced Practice module complements other more political work based on my professional work in international development that is developed in other modules for this degree. This blog complements and links to my other blogs and websites

  • Zemni Images professional website that houses high resolution images of my Visual Communications portfolios and my photography portfolios and archives.
  • Zemni Images blog a portfolio site that showcases the best work from my previous and current Visual Communications courses.
  • Visual Communication for Development  looking at issues in my professional work in international development  for the OCA Visual  Research course.
  • Zemni Printmaking being developed and updated from my OCA printmaking courses.
  • Zemni Photography from OCA photography courses I tool as a leisure student
  • Zemni Moving Image blog for OCA personal development module Moving Image 1 animation.
  • Gamechange Network professional consultancy blog that houses and links participatory pictorial methodologies and other outputs from the different international development projects and partners I have worked with.