Sat in a Turkish Restaurant in Hackney over kebabs and lamb shanks we spoke to Kamo. I would describe her as a pint-sized pocket full of sunshine seasoned with dynamite. At first, she seemed a little shy about the attention and fuss that this interview was causing but, after a bit of chatter about the beautiful stained glass chandeliers, the history of the building we sat in, she eased right in. Kamo is a Photographer, Videographer, final year Business Management student. I like to think of her as a calabash of culture, brimming with experiences mere mortals like myself can only, by the occasional glimpse at stills, share.
“I’M INSPIRED BY INTEGRATION, HOW UBUNTU EXISTS IN UNEXPECTED SPACES” – KAMO
Having seen her cool-hued visuals that immortalised her adventurous trips to the Czech Republic, Bali or Greece or reading through her blog of tips and narratives – www.fromkamok.com; it was hard to believe that she had only been at this for three years or so,
“I’ve had an interest in photo and video creation from a young age but I only began to invest in my development as a photographer recently”, shared Kamo.
Raised by diplomats, the side effect of this involved constant relocation between her home Botswana, to Zimbabwe, Japan, the United States and now the United Kingdom. Kamo was quick to point out that Japan and the United Kingdom had been her favourites to date, thanks to the powerful elements of diversity each of the capitals possessed.
Ethnically, Kamo is of the Kalanga Tribe, a known minority in both Zimbabwe, Botswana and partially Mozambique,
“I stayed in Zimbabwe in Bulawayo, it was easier there with people who spoke my language,” said she.
Now based in London for seven years, she admitted the move was a begrudged one at first, but Kamo has since adjusted and now uses the cityscape as a Creative generator so-to-speak,
“ though I was reluctant to move here at first, I’ve fallen in love with the city and now I consider it my home. I draw a lot of inspiration from the diversity of London, the integration of cultures, it’s definitely played a role in shaping me as a creative” Kamo chimed, “everyone you meet in London is from somewhere” she said.
Diversity works as a strong catalyst in Kamo’s creative process, but so does Music and the work of fellow Southern African Creatives.
“I’ve met some amazing people through photography, I’m inspired by integration, how Ubuntu exists in unexpected spaces”, she explained.
One would be quick to assume that the binary consideration of identity for a well-travelled third culture kid like Kamo would be commonplace, but when the subject was raised the final year business student was yet to consider a single description or title as her identifier,
“honestly I haven’t really thought about it… it’s a lot to think about, I’m not quite sure”, she said.
Often we consider identity as Heritage, clearly defined by more of what we know and less of what we identify with, what if identity is less about Heritage, Ethnicity or location and more of paths chosen?
ExpaCreates is a multi-depiction of UK-based Creatives of African Descent under the Connect South/UK Project by the British Council.
Through a series of portraits and interviews, Zimbabwean Creative Stephanie Kapfunde and UK-based Artist Ubuntugraphy teamed up to highlight the fluidity of identity and how it can be traced through Creative Expression. ExpaCreates is a juxtaposition of British values and opinions with African Heritage, illustrated in Visual, Spoken or Performed Arts.
This is a story of how heritage and identity influence creative identities and expression.