‘Expressing myself creatively through film’: Young artist Abigail reflects on film as a force for change

Abigail shares some of the film work she produced during our City as Studio digital residency in February 2021. Having never made a film before, she describes how the experience introduced her to new forms of creative expression, and a creative medium for tackling important and complex themes.

Words, images and film by Abigail.

My name is Abigail. Art is a crucial part of my everyday life and some of the ways I express myself creatively is through drawing, writing, performing and through music. I chose to take part in this residency because I had never before created a film and thought it would be a great way to stay inspired during lock down. 

The participants of the residency and my friends and family thought my film was quite impactful, because, through my use of books and stationery taken from my surroundings, combined with the material I was sent in my pack from Modern Art Oxford, I was able to create a short but clear piece of art centring on the importance of education on black history. The feedback I gained was also constructive, as they gave me more suggestions on which objects to include in order to strengthen the message of my film, which was based around the topic of Black Lives Matter.

During this experience I learned how to gather a range of sounds from around my home to create a sound collage. I was also able to expand on my leadership skills, being responsible for directing, storyboarding, and shooting my film.

Reviewing other exhibitions done at Modern art Oxford was also an enlightening experience. I reviewed Khadija Cecile Niang’s online exhibition It’s Not Just Hair. She uses watercolour paintings and two ‘confession videos’ to portray the shared struggle black women face with their hair, and how it can be difficult to maintain a sense of confidence in a society that does not always welcome our uniqueness. I was very inspired by this piece of work and it encouraged me to go further with some of my own ideas and experiences. 

One thing I wish I would’ve done differently is how I experimented with film shots. I would’ve done some outside shots, trying to include other actors into my work as well as objects from my surroundings.

I think my biggest achievement over the course of this residency was my ability to maintain an open mind, which led to me creating a short film communicating my definition of ‘A Citizen of the Universe’, through experimenting with camera angles and stop motion. During this residency, I obtained a new way of expressing myself creatively through film and I will definitely continue to experiment with this in the future.

Aged 16-19 and interested in film, music, art and the world around you? Sign up now for our next free online film-making residency, 12-16 April 2021.

Find out more about City as Studio, here.

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