Peckham-born artist Melanie Issaka to put on a free workshop following Somerset House debut

As well as Somerset House, her work has been featured in the Saatchi Gallery, Vogue and the Guardian.

A Peckham-born photographer whose work has been displayed at Somerset House and the Saatchi Gallery will put on a free workshop next week. 

Young people are invited to Melanie Issaka’s workshop at Flat Time House art gallery, Bellenden Road, on May 26, to create a ‘cyanotype’ which will go on display at Gala, a festival being held on Peckham Rye during the Jubilee weekend.

A ‘cyanotype’, Melanie’s artistic specialism, is a printing method that involves using UV radiation and photosensitive chemicals. 

Melanie, whose work has featured in the Guardian and Vogue, said: “I think art and photography are important for young people.

“It’s something that I was so grateful for when I was growing up and people should be able to explore artistic avenues even if they don’t know they want to be an artist.” 

Anyone aged between 16 and 22 can sign up to the free two-hour workshop, where Melanie will teach participants how to use alternative printing methods.

Melanie says her interest in photography was inspired by her childhood home, which had family portraits plastered all over the walls.

She said: “I grew up surrounded by photos of grandparents and relatives. But then, on my mum’s side, there was a flood and we lost lots of images.”

“So I became kind of obsessed with archiving photos. I would take portraits of everyone – friends, family – everyone.” 

She was interested in cameras and how they worked, but also troubled by how they’d been used to perpetuate racialised stereotypes.

So, she started working with ‘cyanotypes’, a method of self-portrayal which doesn’t require “posing”, which she says has a weighted history. 

Melanie lives in Woolwich nowadays but is in Peckham so often, she says “I don’t think I ever really left”. 

Her work will be displayed at prestigious art festival Photo Basel this summer.

The Cyanotype Workshop with Melanie Issaka is being held between 5pm and 7pm at Flat Time House, 210 Bellenden Road, Thursday May 26. 

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