A programme of pioneering Black photography unfurls across Leica Gallery for Black History Month

Talks, grants inviting submissions from Black photographers, and an exhibition seeped in reverence: Holly-Marie Cato curates an expansive programme for Black History Month.

4 October 2022


Seeing photographer Holly-Marie Cato’s solo exhibition Heavy is the Mantle would be reason enough to visit Leica Gallery in London this month. Documenting Herbert Cato – previous presiding Bishop of City Mission Church – in the days before he stepped down, the exhibition will reflect on Cato’s “fascination of Christianity within the Caribbean community”, a press release explains, adding: “from swishing choir robes, taking communion and the theatre of exhortations”. It is an incredible body of work, but thanks to Holly-Marie Cato, there's more to discover at Leica Gallery this October.

To celebrate Black History Month, Holly-Marie Cato has curated a month of talks and events championing – and tangibly supporting – Black photographers. Notably, grants from Leica Gallery and WeTransfer will be awarded to three Black photographers, totalling £10,000. These grants will be awarded to photographers shortlisted from the portfolio reviews running at the gallery – any photographers looking to submit their work for consideration can do so here.

Talks are another part of Holly-Marie Cato’s carefully curated line-up. For those that missed hearing Henry J. Kamara at August’s Nicer Tuesdays, the photographer will speak at Leica Gallery on 13 October – a must for anyone considering attending. The talk will delve into Henry’s unreleased project, Keep the Drums Lose the Knife, which explores the issue of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Sierra Leone. Renee Maria Osubu is also on the roster. On 6 October, the photographer and director will present her short film, Dear Philadelphia, exploring community and forgiveness in North Philadelphia. Renowned photographers and documentarians Charlie Phillips and Eddie Otchere will also host events, as well as director and producer Simon Frederick.


Holly-Marie Cato: Heavy is the Mantle (Copyright © Holly-Marie Cato, 2022)

Heavy is the Mantle will be Cato’s debut solo exhibition. With it, the photographer will explore the spiritual and symbolic mantle of responsibility church leaders carry and eventually pass on to future leaders. It will run until 1 November.

On the line-up of events, Holly-Marie Cato states: “Over the month of October, we want to celebrate Black pioneering photographers who have pushed the visual narrative. Photographers who have not been celebrated enough from the legendary Charlie Phillips to Leica grant recipient Renee Maria Osubu.” The programme also hopes to invite “a younger, more diverse audience through the doors of Leica Store Mayfair and Leica Gallery London”.

GalleryHolly-Marie Cato: Heavy is the Mantle (Copyright © Holly-Marie Cato, 2022)

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Holly-Marie Cato: Heavy is the Mantle (Copyright © Holly-Marie Cato, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating from the University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, Indie magazine and design studio Evermade.

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