Photographer & Actress
Tell us a bit about you, both personally and artistically
My name is Angie Owiti, an island girl born and raised in Mombasa, Kenya, loved and nurtured by my parents Judy and Christopher, and anchored by my siblings Michelle and Paul. I first came to the UK in 2018 to pursue my degree in Acting then chose to stay and continue along that path while venturing in my other passions and hobbies. If I’m being honest, an artistic description of myself is hard to shape even now. I still struggle a lot with this sense of displacement ever since I left home. It’s come to apply to many areas of my life especially after coming here and I’m still trying to figure out what my artistic voice is. I can definitely say that this sense of ‘unbelonging’ has and still continues to colour any body of work that I produce whether that be in front of a camera or behind it.
What are the visions and inspirations for your works?
My work is inspired by human connection, by the everyday, by passion, sadness, darkness…by the honesty and vulnerability that it takes to exist or choose to exist in this world every day. I am also inspired by my homeland; it took leaving it to realise how much it was a core part of who and what I am. And my family, always my family.
Can you elaborate on your personal experiences of homesickness and the UK, and how does this show in your work?
No matter how well I prepped myself for the idea of independence and leaving, nothing could have ever prepared me for the reality that is living a life away from my family and my home. It isn’t just homesickness but this state of feeling displaced and belonging nowhere. I would be here and feels so out of place; missing the sun that shone and blessed me every day, the calming waves that crested the shores just five minutes from my doorstep, the palm trees that swayed in the wind inviting me to just breathe deep and know that I belong in this place of my birth, and the people that greet me with kindness, joy and love. These are some of the memories and feelings I would crave only to go home and realize that life has moved on without me. In the time I get to see my family every one or two years, my beautiful sister who I left a young and impressionable teenager now has an I.D. and is on her way to womanhood. My little brother whose shoulder I used to lean on in family photos now towers above, speaking to me with a different sense of humor and maturity that is foreign to me. I look at my parents looking just a little bit older, the fine lines and wrinkles on their faces just a little bit deeper; I look at all these things and realise that I’m just a visitor visiting a family that happens to be my family. It’s another Christmas away from home, I’m in city center watching families and couples preparing for the festivities, and I hear of schoolmates and friends who are planning their trips home. As I slowly make my way through the streets from class to my house, from my house to Sainsbury’s and back to my house….I slowly start to understand why the Grinch hated Christmas. Since coming to the UK I didn’t take photos for awhile and only a few years ago started expressing myself this way again especially through film photography, and now any chance I get to go home and be close to my loved ones I take as many photos as I can and hold those precious memories a little closer to my heart.
What does it mean to display your work?
Having my work displayed feels like having a little pocket of home in London, like my own sanctuary. It means everything.
What are your artistic aspirations?
My focus right now is to keep finding ways to express life and what comes with it as creatively and as truthfully as I can. It’s really important to me that people are seen and heard as human beings. Everyone deserves to feel seen and understood in a world where it’s so easy to just disappear and drown. I hope to capture stories unheard and unseen, extravagant and mundane, light or dark…as long as it’s truthful then it’s beautiful to me.