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Photography (MA)

Aisha Seriki

Aisha Seriki ( b.1998) is a Nigerian visual artist based in London.  At the age of 8, her family emigrated from Southeast Asia to the UK, and she has been residing in South London ever since. Aisha’s interest in photography stems from her father's obsession with documentation, particularly of her significant childhood events.

Her creative practice is driven by both imagination and experience. Grounded by the spirit of Sankofa, her practice invokes the historical past as a method to understand the present realities of existence.

Aisha graduated with a first class honours degree in Global Liberal Arts from SOAS University of London in 2020. Aisha is completing the MA photography programme at the Royal College of Art. In 2021 she was selected as a finalist for the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize. Her work has been featured in GQ, Dazed and Gal-Dem. 

Degree Details

School of Arts & HumanitiesPhotography (MA)RCA2023 at Battersea and Kensington

RCA Battersea, Dyson Building, First floor

B & W  portrait image of a girl on top of a mirror and a calabash. She is looking up.

My approach to image making is ritualistic. Nurturing communal bonds on and off set is central to my process. I constantly navigate current debates surrounding the ethics of photography and seek to position myself and my practice.

I am fascinated by the dialectic between literature and photography. My work is driven by my exploration of the relationship between the symbolism of photography, literature and black liberation. My process is energized by art history and seminal thinkers across the Black diaspora such as Toni Morrison, Fred Moten, Saidiya Hartman, bell hooks and Sophie Oluwole. Through the exploration of their works I adopt the use of symbolism as a method for visual communication in my storytelling.

‘Ori Inu’ is an ongoing visual project that I am currently imagining. The project arose out of feelings of isolation and depression, an effect of my position in the world.

B and W  side profile image with girl looking forward on a mirror
B and W image of a girl holding a calabash on her head
B and W photo manipulation on girl touching mirror
B and W photo manipulate of the same girl holding calabash
B and W image of girl throwing calabash looking behind
Ori Inu, Patinated Bronze, Intaglio print, Etched Bronze, Inkjet Print

Project Description

The project takes from the Yoruba Metaphysical conception “Ori’ which translates to head and refers to one's spiritual destiny. Followers of the Yoruba Spiritual tradition ‘Ifa’ believe that all humans pick their spiritual destiny(‘Ori’) before entering the world. Ori is one's personal ‘god’ which follows us through the ups and downs of life, and by working on ourselves both spiritually and physically we can heal ourselves and obtain alignment with our personal destiny. Using the calabash as a visual metaphor, Ori Inu depicts my attempts to mend the break between her mind and spirit and realignment of her personal destiny. There are no markers of the natural world, to represent inner consciousness, and emptiness occurring as a result of existential dread. Utilising a non-linear form, Ori inu attempts to show that reconnecting with one's inner spirit is a continuous endeavour and is a condition of the human experience.

For me, Ori Inu represents my decision to reconnect with my love of photography. The project is signals the shift from my past work, from a didactic to a poetic approach.  Through this project I have been able to develop my practice by exploring the boundaries between the photograph and the object, as well as the social relationship that manifests with the individual and the keepsake.  I am particularly inspired by objects such as the locket, and the cameo, and their relations with photography. Stimulated by this history, I have been designing and developing a series of bronze combs sculptures, to sit alongside my photographic prints. My connection to the comb, is informed by  its relationship with  African diasporan histories, where it surpasses functionality to become a  a cultural symbol of empowerment, ritual and self-care.

Whilst Ori inu was born out of a personal connection with me, it is a vessel which I utilise to explore wider contemporary themes. As a immigrant, I have experienced and witnessed the devastating impacts of bureaucracy and institutional systems on the lives of individuals who live within the cracks of society. For that reason, I am interested in the ways that societal norms impact the self, the personal, and the private space.  I apply the principles of Yoruba Spirituality, Surrealism and Magic Realism to complicate the common understanding of the self.  Through this methodology I aim to showcase an imagination of marginalised bodies beyond the binary.


Patinated Bronze, Intaglio print, Etched Bronze, Inkjet Print


 picture of man looking at his reflection on water
water reflection of trees
image of a mans torso holding daffodils
 image of a man laying down with daffodils

Project Desciption

‘Untitled’ is an ongoing visual project by Aisha Seriki. The project is part of a wider series utilising symbolism as a device for investigating the ‘self’. It references the Greek Myth of Echo and Narcissus and Western art history as a commentary of modern understandings of self-love. In the story, Narcissus is described as an androgynous youth, who was known for his beauty and he was proclaimed to live long as long as he did not know himself. Narcissus rejects all romantic interests including the Oread ‘Echo’ and he eventually falls in love with his reflection, causing his death. After his death, he transitions into a flower ‘Narcissus’, a beauty that is relished by all and not just himself. Inspired by Surrealist Self portraiture artists such as Claude Cahun, and Florence Henri, and the character of ‘Beloved’ by Toni Morrison, the project uses water as a self-reflective device to explore inner/outer beauty, transition, rebirth and the boundaries of self-love, and self-obsession. Championing the works of Audre Lorde, the project challenges the moralist conclusion of Narcissus, and attempts to show self-love as a method of freedom to challenge the social conditionings of modern society.

Sir Frank Bowling Scholarship