1.1 Developing my Personal Statement

Reviewing my work

Portfolios of my best work from all my OCA Visual Communications courses have been uploaded to different sections on my portfolio website: http://www.zemniimages.info

As the courses themselves have been very diverse – book design, illustration and printmaking – and encouraging me to experiment with a range of different media, my responses in terms of content, style and media have also varied widely. I very much valued the many opportunities to explore things outside my comfort zone. Pulling all these various threads together, without overly limiting myself, was a long and quite difficult process. It was also clear that many of the pieces that were maybe technically good, did not represent my ‘voice’ as much as other pieces that were much less polished – because I was being spontaneous, experimental and taking risks that did not always work.

It was difficult to identify any one single thread, but rather a number of different areas of work, some of which I intend to integrate into my work on documentary in this module and others that I am leaving for future:

Us Too

This first section includes work that represents my underlying ‘voice’ and socio-political perspective that I want to integrate more fully across all my work:

  • Me Me Me : Much of my Visual Communications work to date has been part of my own search for artistic identity. Self-reflection on my own life, motivations and instinctive reactions are an essential understanding of my own subjectivity in order to move on. Although autobiography per se is not an area I am intending to pursue further before the end of this degree, it is something that I have enjoyed, and want to take up again in a few years’ time. I am also interested in pursuing further the issues of personal identity and mental health.
  • From Life : shows selected sketches from different places and types of things I choose to sketch and record. I want to focus much more on life sketching in this module, to significantly upgrade quick sketching skills linked to my documentary.
  • Feminist Gaze: selected work that explores feminism and part of an ongoing interest in how my gender affects what I see, what I communicate and how I communicate it. I want to do a lot more research on other photographers, illustrators and printmakers and integrate more into my documentary work.
  • Life of Zemni is a live project where I am aiming to develop further my ‘alter ego’ as a ‘blind middle-ageing molerat’ trying to make sense of the world. In the longer term I am hoping to develop this into eg a series of alternative travel guides ‘Zemni Goes to…’ as an extension of my documentary work.


This second section is the biggest – and the most central to my work on this module.


The third section contains some of my most visually interesting work, but the current images generally no longer represent my conceptual ‘voice’. In this current module I want to pursue some of the techniques and styles further,  adapting them to documentary. With the intention then in a few years’ time to revisit some of the material for political allegory, writing my own story-lines.

There are a number of bodies of work and draft books:

  • Hybrids from Illustration 2, exploring different digital/physical workflows.
  • Landscape: imaginary landscapes in a range of media.
  • Jabberwocky: an edgy reworking of Lewis Carol’s poem to high contrast black and white photographs of a walk in Holmefirth, Derbyshire.
  • Deliverance : a spin-off book based on iPad images from gouache daubs that were part of my visual experiments in Oromia: A Reflected Journey.
  • Journey: a second spin-off book from watercolour experiments for Oromia: A Reflected Journey.
  • Tales from the Edge a series of images produced on my iPad from photographs of textures in Aldeburgh, edited with a broad allegorical narrative.


There are then links to a range of images that I produced as media experiments, some of which – partly because they are divorced from content considerations – are the best examples of technical drawing and painting skills that I intend to adapt for documentary in this module.

Live Projects and developments going forward

My Visual Communications practice going forward will also increasingly draw on and link with my professional consultancy work around participatory drawing for visioning and planning on a range of development issues. In parallel to my degree work on Visual Communications modules, I have also taken a series of photography courses with OCA as a leisure student. Of these my course on Landscape Photography is particularly relevant for my Visual Communications practice and thinking around issues in documentary – see blog: http://www.photography.zemniimages.info