Dave Lewis combines photography with ethnographic research as a premise for his richly textured installations. He invites the viewer to consider their own sense of place, belonging and identity through classifications based on family, race, religion and the State.
Lewis was part of Iniva’s inter-generational exhibition ‘Entanglement: The Ambivalence of Identity’ (2011) reflecting on the complexities of living with more than one culture. His work Contact Sheet investigates the brief of ‘science and identity’ by attempting to work methodically using images as data and focusing on identity as both hereditary as well as social. The portraits allude to identity in terms of gender, the presence of the Y Chromosome in men and what it means to be male. The adjacent triptychs in light boxes represent his visual research, looking at different types of identity from personal to national to mythic. Texts caption and question in relation to his own sense of identity.
Of Grenadian heritage, Lewis attended the Polytechnic of Central London (now University of Westminster) to study film and photography in the mid-1980s and later worked for the community based Blackfriars Photography Project in South East London.
Exhibitions and screenings include: ‘The Place is Here’, South London Gallery (2017); ‘Diaspora Pavillion’, Palazzo Pisani Santa Marina, Venice (2017); ‘Once Removed’, Venice Biennale (2011); ‘Field Work’, ArtSway Gallery (2010); ‘Photo-ID‘, Norwich Forum (2009); ‘AfterShock’, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (2007). Lewis’s work has appeared in a number of publications around themes of race, identity, and representation. His work Untitled (Royal Anthropological Institute, London) (1995) entered the Arts Council Collection in 2001.
He lives and works in London teaching in the anthropology department at Goldsmiths, University of London.