Meet the August Artists In Residence: Self-Equity

October 6, 2022 / Aisha Badmus

Following the announcement of our first brief in April centred around equity, we invited artists to submit their artistic interpretations for our third theme: Self-Equity. Seven artists were selected from a wide number of submissions to receive a £500 grant and have their work displayed on outdoor billboards across the month of September/October.

Today we take a deeper diver into our finalists and the inspiration behind their work.


Amarachi Nnoli

Amarachi Nnoli is an art and documentary photographer whose work explores her journey through life using photography to examine her relationships with self, siblings, family, friends, and environment, and how they are shaped for good or bad. Inspired by The Beatles’ 1969 single, Here Comes The Sun, Amarachi’s piece represents a personal manifestation of “dulcius ex asperis“ – life getting “sweeter after difficulties”.

This piece is a reflection of [her] teenage years, and how far [she has] come as a young adult now navigating life after letting go of anxiety and social awkwardness, through years of self-therapy. In the photo, the model is bathed in warm light, face settled in contentment, a general feeling of finally being at peace after seemingly never-ending turmoil.


Maame Blue

Maame Blue is a Ghanaian-Londoner, recipient of the 2022 Society of Authors Travelling Scholarship and author of the novel Bad Love, which won the 2021 Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Betty Trask Prize. Her writing has appeared in Not Quite Right For Us and KYD New Australian Fiction 2020 and will be in the upcoming children’s anthology Joyful, Joyful.

“I have been thinking a lot about self-equity of late; how we show up for ourselves and show up for others. A lot of us don’t do it at all – I often feel the weight of giving what I can of myself, without ever expecting to receive back because that isn’t what motivates me. But we cannot pour from an empty cup. There is energy that lies in taking time to restore ourselves. This piece encapsulates the simple actions we can take to pause and revive, even in the smallest of moments.”



Kushiaania is a freelance illustrator and co-founder of an independent illustration studio – Mush Studio. Growing up British-Asian, Kush’s illustrations are designed to showcase the culture clash of balancing old school tradition whilst still finding and keeping your own identity. Her illustrations centre around strong, badass people being unapologetically themselves, tying in her love of fashion and pop culture. During the course of her freelance career, she has worked for brands such as Apple, WhatsApp, BBC Sport and Ribena.

Her piece, ‘Venus’ is about “[g]rowing up brown and female meant constantly being told from a young age to “cover-up” and stay modest. Self-expression was an uphill battle, constantly editing yourself in order to please others and the wider community. Growing and healing from these mindsets and allowing yourself to be your most authentic self is, in my opinion, one of the most empowering and beautiful acts of self-love we can do for ourselves.”


Olúwatamílọ́re Ọ̀shọ́

Olúwatamílọ́re Ọ̀shọ́’s writings negotiate sensuality, familial dynamics and identity. Her works have been published/forthcoming in online literary mags namely The Roadrunner review, Olney Magazine, ANMLY lit mag, PANK magazine and elsewhere. “Lullabies for dreary days” is a homage to self-love, renewal and wellness in spite of pain and tribulations.

In this work, I seek to call the reader into a remembrance of the efficacy of self-love and the power to heal despite the pain, I believe that all humans are powerful and stronger than we think we are therefore I utilize my art to express my experiences and those of others around me, with emphasis on wellness and mental health.”


Shade O. Thompson

Shade O. Thompson is a London-based portrait photographer who uses connection on set, and creative direction to help individuals build confidence, take ownership, freely express their vision and inspire. After 10 years of experimenting with photography techniques, there was a recurring theme of the reaction of each person photographed: “Is this really me?” Individuals were in awe of their looks. These reactions led to the focus on highlighting the true beauty of people using their stance and supporting their mindset during the shoot. That’s how ‘Shade Did That – Photography’ was born, using Minimal Edits and Maximum Experience.

“Self-love and self-equity extend beyond the material forms; what we purchase, indulge in, and hide from the world. Its core value is rooted in the desires of the heart, intentions of the mind, and virtues of the spirit. Harnessing the reality of who you are without restricting your potential, in a society that may heighten one’s insecurities. To strengthen this is to create a space of liberation through assertion and, self-accountability filled with compassion, embracing your unique form. That is the epitome of true self-love and self-equity and what this image represents.”


Ugochukwu Paul Nnaji

Ugochukwu Paul Nnaji is a 19-year-old Law student and primarily a digital illustrator to whom art is a means of self-expression and science to be explored. He does paintings in various styles from more painterly to graphic styles, but his work mainly centres around elevating real-life phenomena, objects and situations for the purpose of conveying a social message or a past experience in order to inspire and improve the lives of those around him for the better.

“I have never experienced a better means of achieving self-equity than saying of my past triumphs and mistakes, “I am grateful”. This painting features myself now at 19, with myself at 15, 11, and 7. This year, I began to embrace the creativity and vigour of my 7 and 11-year-old selves. My 15-year-old self got himself into a spine-damaging injury, so I’m in constant pain. I used to despise this injury but I decided to embrace it as a part of my history and this has been my most productive year as an artist! Peace with the past is strength for the future.”



Z4 is a 24 years old Nigerian 3D artist currently living in London, whose work focuses on placing characters [he has] created in safe spaces of their own because [he believes] everyone deserves a place where they truly feel the same.

“It is not selfish to love yourself, if you feel good about yourself nobody can make you feel less than you are. Always remember to take care of yourself.”

Congratulations to all of the winners! To hear about more upcoming Artist In Residence opportunities dropping in 2022, follow Pocc on Instagram.