Studying in London was one of the most eye opening experiences for me. Not only was it my first time in London, but in Europe! I had no idea what to expect, nor had I anticipated all the amazing friendships that would make and amazing people I would meet. I was beyond lucky to be introduced to Hamish Crooks and Oisin Davies, fellow members of The Obsidian Collection team. Since I joined the team in April 2020, I had yet to meet any team members in person. Having conversations with both Oisin and Hamish was incredible because it was the first time I was able to talk about The Obsidian in real life!
I first visited Oisin at the London College of Communication where he works. He showed me around the spaces of the college where they have many impressive exhibits and workplaces. There has been an emptiness in the building due to Covid however, and a lot of the exhibits have remained art-less for months. Oisin told me about one such exhibit that was supposed to happen, but of course, had to be postponed due to Covid.
After looking around at some photos and different rooms, we sat down together to talk about the future of Obsidian. Being able to converse about the expanding and comprehensive future of this incredible company made me extremely excited for all that it holds. With the amount of plans that are in the works, it's hard not to envision how large we will grow. Having these conversations in London is proof of that! I got to hear about Oisin’s work at the college and how it translates to his efforts in producing more images for The Obsidian. The ongoing work to get more images from various archives in London has been the jobs of both Oisin and Hamish, and they have put in the work to find and secure them.
When sitting down with Hamish, I was able to hear of his efforts to obtain these photos as well. His efforts were focused on finding Black-owned magazines in London. He told me how difficult it was to find these newspapers and magazines because unlike in the United States, London does not have as many published Black newspapers. With this being said, I understood how much more important it was to obtain these images to share with the public since they are so rare and special.
Having the opportunity to meet with Hamish and Oisin was a super exciting experience for me as I got to see firsthand how The Obsidian is expanding to new parts of the world. I also got to see the space where we will host an exhibition in October! I am even more excited to come back to London in the fall to see this extraordinary exhibit and witness all the work put in to make sure these photos get shown for the sake of spreading the joys of the Black diaspora.
NOTE: We are launching The Obsidian Collection Archives - UK in partnership with University of Arts, London in October 2022 (UK's Black History Month).