“I AM NOT YOUR MATE” is a Nigerian slang meaning  “I am not your age mate, I am older . . .” 

“I AM NOT YOUR MATE” is a portrait and storytelling series focused on 25 Senior Citizens based in London aged over 60 years. The series will showcase their stories, experiences, dreams and fears. The 25 senior citizens are from different backgrounds and ethnicity in London.  London is a multicultural city and more than 270 nationalities make up the fabric of the city. London is one of the most linguistically diverse city in the world.

I am really passionate about representation and senior citizens are so underestimated! They are full of wisdom, experience and we can learn so much from them. We are missing opportunities to learn from the knowledge gained over decades. Older people are a source of wise words and sage advice on dealing with and enjoying life to its fullest. In the words of Victor Hugo “When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in old age”

The 25 Senior Citizens have really helped to shape the project a lot more than I’d initially thought. The overall idea stemmed from me being inspired by senior citizens in society and wanting to hear their various stories whilst capturing them but once I started speaking and consulting with them, they introduced new themes that the project now explores such as family, relationships, contentment, loneliness and common medical conditions that affect senior citizens  like dementia, cataracts, osteoporosis, hearing loss etc

As a photo artist, I will photograph the 25 senior citizens like they are. No editing, no lightroom, no photoshop, no staged concepts, this is about showing raw, honest emotions and the beauty of age.  I truly hope that this project will inspire people to have more conversations with older people, they have a lifetime of experiences to share and an intuitive wisdom. Being Old is the purest and most positive experiences of human existence.

I AM NOT YOUR MATE is a touring exhibition. Please contact me on hello.chinwe@gmail.com if you would like the project exhibited.

 

I AM NOT YOUR MATE project is supported by Arts Council England and will go LIVE here on the 1st of September 2019.