Silvia Rosi is an Italian/Togolaise London based artist, working with photography and video to explore ideas of memory and migration.
She graduated from London College of Communication in 2016 with a BA (Hons) in Photography. Recent exhibitions include With Monochrome Eyes, Borough Road Gallery, London; Encounter, Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020, Jerwood Arts, London; Presenting Cultural Connections,1:54 Art Fair, Somerset House (2019); Emergence, The Art Pavilion, Mile End (2016); Beyond the Camera, Pingyao International Photography Festival (2016); Black Blossom Exhibition – Highlighting the Voices of Black Women (2016).
Rosi recently undertook a Thread residency in Senegal, which she spoke about at a talk for 1:54 A Contemporary African Art Fair.
Silvia Rosi’s work explores her personal family history drawing on her Togolaise heritage, and the idea of origins. The theme of family is explored through self-portraits in which she plays her mother and father, and is partially informed by the West African studio portrait. Her mother plays a central role in her work, as well as her father, and their experiences of migration from Togo in West Africa to Italy. Rosi reenacts her parents’ struggle, positioning herself as both observer and participant. Her pictures are both quotidian and complex, and are based on pictures that Rosi came across in an old family photo album. She works with photography, text and video.
Silvia Rosi’s Encounter is a fictional representation of her family album, exploring tales of migration and diaspora through self-portraiture, performance and symbolism.
Inspired by an image from her own family album, of her young mother as a market trader in Lomé Togo, Rosi retraced her parents’ journey of migration from Togo to Italy. This is a story that is both deeply personal and at the same time universal.
With her mother as source and muse, Rosi performs her family narrative recreating both visual and oral histories through the combination of photography, text, and video. She references the aesthetics of West African studio portraits through the use of backdrops and props. The act of head carrying, a skill traditionally passed on from mother to daughter, is central to the work, learned and performed by Rosi in an attempt to regain a tradition that has been lost through migration and her position as a European.
Encounter is a homage to the family album, an object which is in constant transformation and recontextualization as time passes and relationships progress.