During the Covid-19 pandemic, the photographer Nadine Ijewere took up new hobbies, like many people did, while confined to her home in England: she took bike rides, something she’d never done before; and played video games (“Animal Crossing really helped during the first lockdown,” Ijewere explains over email. “I think I still owe [Animal Crossing character] Tom Nook money.”).
But while in the midst of lockdown, Ijewere also began work on a major new exhibition at C/O Berlin’s Amerika Haus, a nonprofit art and photography space. Named Beautiful Disruption, the exhibition—which is on view in Berlin until September 2—consists of some of Ijewere’s “favorite projects,” from between 2017 and 2020. Because the opportunity to show at Amerika Haus came in 2020, Ijewere says she organized and constructed the entire show digitally, working with C/O Berlin via Zoom and e-mail. “I had a lot of time to figure out what work to include,” she says. “At the same time, this also made the process challenging, because I couldn’t be in Berlin to see how things looked in person. Although my work was sent out by post for me to approve the printing and framing, I’m grateful for the technology we had, which allowed us to communicate.”
For Ijewere, who was raised in London by Jamaican and Nigerian parents, Beautiful Disruption is an opportunity to showcase the ethos with which she approaches her work: to display moments of Black joy, life, and elements of realness. “Through my work, I aim to showcase what has always been beautiful to me—which wasn’t acknowledged or celebrated by the industry before. With Beautiful Disruption, I hope to leave people wondering why it’s taken so long for the industry to see, accept, and celebrate this beauty. But we are beautiful—and I will continue to document it to make sure our own selves are seen and celebrated.”