The Exhibition and Me
''Empowered women, empower women''
''Women of Newport'' is about showing and celebrating wonderful women in our city - their success, passions, commitment and inspiring work. Women of art, creative minds , writers, women of business, those who make a difference , musicians and many more.
The exhibition is also about making physical connections between women's networks in Newport, so we can work together and help each other, make new collaborations or partnerships. Women helping women - because sometimes by doing something together we can achieve more.
I believe this exhibition can provide a positive story for and about Newport and the people that make it a good place to live. We need more of these positive projects, events to build the spirit up. Much of cultural life in the city is still hidden and underground, with many individuals and groups doing brilliant work but often in isolation. This project aims to celebrate and highlight those individuals and build a platform for a future based on collaboration, mutual support and inspiration.
I have lived in Newport since March 2017. I moved from Bristol and at first I didn't see much about what Newport had going for it. I was pretty sure that the cultural life didn't exist here and it was a shame, because the location of the city is geographically perfect. Between two important cities, Bristol and Cardiff. So where was Newport's culture? The truth is there are people here who are ''hungry'' for Newport to rise and in those early days I was lucky enough to meet some of the people making it happen. First I was inspired by Annette Farmer and her passionate work for Newport Market. Through photographing the market, its traders and visitors I got a glimpse of the community working in Newport despite challenges. Then I met Newport Rising team and felt inspired by how they wanted to celebrate Newport, by keeping its legacy alive - the meaningful legacy of Chartists Uprising in 1839, who fought and died for the democracy. I felt inspired about the women I met on my path. The first thoughts about the exhibition came to my mind in November 2018. Soon after I read the story about Janet Martin from Barnabas Arts House and was amazed by her newest project - Phyllis Maud Theatre in Pill. Old Victorian toilets turned into a beautiful theatre. Such a project couldn't exist without some real heart put in to it.
I am a photographer from Newport who is passionate about taking photos of people; I love documentary and street photography. I try to avoid 'posing' the people I photograph and aim to capture them naturally, so that their individual characters show. Showing an empowered, diverse collection of women from a variety of backgrounds and experiences is a key aim for the project. My youngest models are only sixteen years old, and the oldest more than seventy and having conversations with each of them helped me to realise how age matters when we make career changing decisions, especially when it comes to confidence. Confidence comes with age, and is a very important part of being successful. You need to believe in yourself in order to make your dreams come true. What if we share our own experience and knowledge with other women and help them to be on the right path of making own dreams come true? I believe all of my women can inspire. To create an inspiring, collaborative local community - Women of Newport - would be a next step in connecting us females after my exhibition.
The positive attitude I received from the women I approached as part of the exhibition, drove me to work even harder and expand the project. I realised there is so much potential here and so many strong, inspiring women that deserved to be celebrated. I'm thankful to all those women, without them the project wouldn't be what it is.
The Escape Rooms
''Think outside the box''
The exhibition will take place in Newport Escape Rooms with Elinor and David Daniel supporting and co hosting the event. I believe The Escape Rooms is the place for my photos, we have taken the exhibition out of a traditional art gallery setting and gone underground, to a venue that reflects Newport's grit and alternative scene.
The original plan was to collect portraits of minimum 20 women, but the project has evolved and grown since that first idea to include many more inspiring women. I am still working on it, and the goal is to carry on and meet and collect portraits of as many women as possible before the official launching day. At the moment I have about 40 women/group of women involved. And the big day will happen at 24th of May.
From the beginning, I imagine the exhibition to be a fitting celebration of the women of Newport, but I hope that this kickstarter will enable me to expand the project further, highlighting more women, enabling me to produce the first Women of Newport photo-book and set the groundwork for legacy projects and an annual event.
Women of Newport
Did You know that our city has many talented female musicians? So far I have five talented ladies included in my exhibition. Did You know we have also writers, including one Sarah, who resigned from her work in a bank after 14 years, so she can become a writer?
There are many successful and well known women included in my project. One of them is Janet Martin from the Barnabas Arts House. Barnabas Arts House is centre for creativity in Newport and Janet has been at the forefront of the arts movement for over thirty years. She is also a very charming person and she gave me huge support with my project.
Kate and Sarah from ''Art on the Hill'' (artists, photographers) are other wonderful women helping others. They established this community to promote the work of local artists by making homes and other venues art spaces for the weekend. They want to contribute to the cultural profile of the area. Also they are the ones who took my portraits for the exhibition, as one of the women, which you can see exclusively during the exhibition.
Would You like to find out more about women involved in my project? Follow Women of Newport on Facebook and Kamila J Photography. During the kickstarter campaign each lady will be introduced and you will find more about the exhibition.
Risks and challenges
The project is still on going and I still meet and photograph women. The biggest risk is the cost of the exhibition, which is fully funded by me so far. I can only overcome it with your financial support and help. The project expanded in last months, and I wasn't doing anything else but the exhibition in that time. It is a large project with at least few hundreds of different photos taken and I am still meeting more women to photograph them, If I collect more funding by the Kickstarter than planned, it will be all invested in continuation of ''Women of Newport''. The exhibition is only the beginning.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (32 days)