Everywhere we look, there is love. Love encompasses positive emotions and joyful experiences that we as human beings feel every day. It's dancing around your kitchen to your favourite song, or reading your favourite novel. It's the unconditional love felt towards another, or holding the hand of a newborn baby. Love is expressive, it moves us and guides us through life.
Black Love holds a significantly powerful message that encourages love, joy and excitement in today's society. It's an important message because of historical and recent events facing racism and oppression. Black Love is revolutionary and symbolic to a commitment made between oneself, or that of another. It's a feeling and it's empowerment.
Photography has encouraged artists worldwide to explore the themes of Black Love in many different ways. Self portraiture is often used to express the artists personal challenges or beliefs, as well as documentary and editorial photography. Photographs are a universal language, enriched with emotions whilst also breaking down barriers and making a change.
olivia lifungula
© olivia lifungula
One of those artists is Olivia Lifungula, a photographer and filmmaker who currently lives and works in London. Born in Congo and raised in Belgium, Lifungula has witnessed different cultures first hand. Her creative work explores identity, as well as black femininity and beauty, but one of the most captivating themes portrayed in her work is the theme of love. Her work explores love in different ethnicities. Through her imagery, Lifungula depicts self love, its intricacies and the love one has for another in a way that infatuates the audience. The compositions of her work create a closeness between both the subjects and the audience, encouraging this ideology of love and captivating those who come across her work.
The medium of photography is expressive, it allows the artist to delve into their own beliefs and explore their creative expression. Photographers and filmmakers like Olivia Lifungula are the catalyst for change. The emotions portrayed in Lifungula's work are raw and honest, portraying intimacy in such a way that is fixating. We feel every emotion of her subjects. Her work highlights the main themes of Black Love, specifically its power and its importance within her community.
Throughout history, Black Love has been at the centre of many communities. From 'Jumping the Broom' in the 1800s as a way of expressing commitment to another, to now having a 'Black Marriage Day' every March to celebrate the strength and courage these communities have faced. Black Love is a reaffirmation of humanity, demonstrating one is worthy of love.
Black Love in photography and film is not only powerful, it's poignant and joyful. It's a movement that encourages inclusivity and love. History has shown how compelling Black Love is, and how it's continuing to grow and inspire future generations to come. Inspiring female photographers like Olivia Lifungula help to continue this movement within different communities around the world, encouraging others to express their own themes and ideas around love. For centuries, Black Love has overcome the harshest of realities and the most challenging times which is why it is such a compelling movement that has been celebrated for so long.