THE COLOUR BALANCE & MITCHELL STUDIOS PRESENT: SONDER. A VIRTUAL EXHIBITION SHOWCASING THE WORKS OF FOUR TALENTS IN BRITISH PHOTOGRAPHY FROM THE BLACK AND PEOPLE OF COLOUR COMMUNITY.
Noun. sonder [uncountable] [neologism] The profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passed in the street, has a life as complex as one’s own, which they are constantly living despite one’s personal lack of awareness of it.
The exhibition gives four photographers from underrepresented backgrounds a platform to share some of their most inspired works around the theme of lesser-told stories.
Upon clicking the link, we are transported to a serene music-filled room that feels almost other-worldly [especially after having been trapped inside our apartment for 13 months]. Presented with four doors that appear like portals, we scan the room to reveal the words: Every story fascinates in its own way, but not everyone gets the chance to tell theirs. OK, we’re excited.
The projects exhibited were shot all over the world, from the radiant beaches that border Lagos, to the barren schools of London, the halcyon parks of Los Angeles and the welcoming homes of Senegal. We click through the doors [L-R] Ejatu Shaw, Jack Lawson, Serena Brown, Khalil Musa.
Each room is distinct in its vibe [for lack of a better word] and soundscape. We witness the works beneath a powder blue sky in rich earth-toned Ricardo Bofill-esq spaces. One is propped with chairs and plants, reflecting the teranga, or hospitality, of its Senegalese backdrop, another is centred around a small pool that reminds us of a Leandro Elrich sculpture. The spaces feel warm; the soundscapes natural and elemental: water, birds, harmonising voices, footsteps. From one room, the tops of trees are visible above the large-scale works.
Honestly, this rivals any gallery we’ve been to IRL.
In partnership with Mitchell Studios, Sonder has been developed and created by The Colour Balance: a non-profit organisation established in 2017 to address the lack of diverse representation in photography. ‘Sonder’ will shine a spotlight on visual stories from marginalised perspectives and alternative narratives to the ones told in mainstream media.
“Sonder meets at the intersection of inclusion, innovation and creativity. Ensuring the voices of those who are Black and People of Colour contribute to the stories being told in virtual spaces and hold equity in the Metaverse.” [Virgilia Facey, Founder, The Colour Balance].
Embracing the digital frontier, Sonder’s VR experiences have been created by Mitchell Studios, a conceptually minded, multidisciplinary design studio specialising in spatial and furniture design. Virtual reality provides an opportunity to bring environments to life which are not only void of boundaries, but most importantly accessible on a global scale.
This expansion in possibilities within spatial design allows us to rethink how we experience culture and create equity and inclusion in the ever-expanding Metaverse. Ensuring that the voices of the Black community and People of Colour are equitably represented in virtual spaces is vital to future generations.