I am a Nigerian writer and artist whose work explores the history and manifestation of ideas that inform how Africans make a living, find belonging and create meaning/healing in our lives. My work has been screened, exhibited and published widely on platforms such as Le Temps (Switzerland), The Brooklyn Rail (USA), The Guardian (UK) and Jameel Arts Centre (UAE).

I was a 2021 journalism fellow with African Arguments, a 2021 artist grantee with the Black Art Joy project (UK), a 2022 writer-in-residence at the Library of Africa and the African Diaspora (Ghana), an architecture research fellow on the 2022 DOCOMOMO Shared Heritage Africa project and a 2023 participant of the New York Portfolio Review. I have an academic background in history, literature and cultural theory and degrees from Queen Mary University of London and University of Oxford.

I earn my living as a freelance writer and photographer creating research-driven stories and insights. On the side, I am building Studio Styles: a research, curatorial and creative studio enabling deeper connections to our selves, histories, communities and environments.

I am from Enugu and now live in Abuja and I am available for documentary and editorial commissions.

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Recent highlights: 

  1. My film 'You Matter to Me' 2022, made under an artist fellowship with the Creating Black Joy project, has been screened at the BFI London for Film Africa festival, the Enugu International Film Festival, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art(LACMA), Africa Film Society’s Classics in the Park (Accra), the Family Film Club (Lagos), The Garden Cinema (London), Jameel Arts Centre (Dubai), and the Library of Africa and the African Diaspora (Accra). Fortchcoming: Switzerland

  2. I was selected for the 2023 New York Portfolio Review, which I applied for with my project, Some Kind of Waithood.

  3. My essay What Does Africapitalism Really Mean? was selected by The Republic as one of its Best 2022 Economics Writing.

Photo Awards/Grants:

2021                         Artist grant, under the ‘Creating Joy: Art, Refusal and the Worlding of Black Lives’ project

Other Photo Publications (not re-published on this website):

2022                        Education of the Tumblr Girl-now-Artist (self-portraits, digital collage), HAPAX Issue 3
2022                        Black Women Photographers on IWD (featured photo & quote), The Guardian (print)
2019                        In The Hands of God We Rendezvous, Saraba Mag
2017                        Way of Seeing, Saraba Mag

Group Exhibitions:

2022                      Cosmos of Space, of Place and Time (Nlele Institute), Recontres de Bamako 
2021                       The Wrong Biennale (curated by olakiitan adeola, ftbc)
2018                       Off the Track festival, Battersea Arts Centre
2018                       QM Visual Arts Collective show, Hundred Years Gallery

Photo Workshops/Portfolio Reviews:

2023                        New York Portfolio Review (NY Times, Photoville, Newmark Journalism School)
2023                        The Nlele Institute, Professional Development Workshop for Visual Storytellers
2022                        Lagos Photo Festival x Reuters Portfolio Review (selected as best portfolio)
2021                        The Nlele Institute Portfolio Review
2021                        Introduction to Photographic Histories, The Photographers’ Gallery
2018                        Photo Scratch
2017                        Digital Photography Summer school, London College of Communication (UAL)

Academic background:
history, literature and cultural theory // degrees from the University of London and the University of Oxford.

Proud member of:
Indigenous Photograph collective
Black Women Photographers
African Photo-Journalism Database, World Press Photo

Here’s a recent Q&A.

*the photograph in the background was taken in 1911 by N. W. Thomas, the first ‘Government Anthropologist’ for the British Colonial Office in present-day Anambra State (Enugu was once part of Anambra State).

I wrote about the photograph for The Brooklyn Rail here

Copyright - Immaculata Abba (2017 - 2023)