Joshua Ngenda, Artist

(photo: Kim Bellavance)

Based on the unceded territories of the WSÁNEĆ and the Lkwungen peoples of southern Vancouver Island, Joshua Ngenda is a curator, maker, and artist of Kissi, Kpelle, and mixed settler ancestry. Practising mainly in photographic portraiture, their work is both intimate and experimental, resting in the slow intention of analog process. They are one of nine participants in the Indigenous Emerging Artists Program currently included in the Open Space exhibition The Stories We Belong To.

  1. Food

Cooking is right up there with sleeping for me. I probably spend more time making food than I do on any other type of art.

  1. Collage

Collage art is such an easily accessible but powerful medium. I’ve been inspired by working with fellow Black artists Kemi Craig and Jeffery Ellom, and the art that came out of the dream technology show I curated earlier last year at FLUX Media Art Gallery. My piece through my father’s eyes (currently featured in the group show The Stories We Belong To) uses weaving as a collage technique to refigure some of my own photography and explore identity, context, and perspective.

  1. Hands

In a literal sense, hands are one of my favourite subjects to photograph. Some of my favourite portraits are just hands, reaching, touching, feeling. More abstractly, I’m a big fan of the manual process – definitely a big part of my fascination with film photography, but also when it comes to cooking, carpentry, or even mending clothes.

  1. My hair

I started growing my hair out three years ago, and learning how to care and style it has been a tender and arduous journey. My childhood was a strict diet of the conservative and ever practical buzzcut familiar to many Black boys, and exploring the flavours of expression my hair offers is a joyous experience.

  1. Furniture design

One of my less shared but enduring pastimes is designing and building furniture. My dad went to school for cabinetry back in the day, and I spent many hours in his garage workshop where he built beds and chairs and couches and tables for our house. He started me with straightening nails until I was tall enough to be handing him tools, and eventually embarking on my own projects.