In partnership with the Photo Oxford Festival 2020 and as part of our Black History Month celebrations, we are delighted to announce the launch of an outdoor installation of a photographic work of artist and rising star Silvia Rosi, on Friday 16th October.   

Self Portrait as My Father, part of the Encounter Series,  is inspired by an image from Rosi’s family album, of her young mother as a market trader in Lomé, Togo. She retraced her parents’ journey of migration from Togo to Italy, to create both a visual and oral history of her family narrative, using a combination of photography, text, and video. She references the aesthetics of West African studio portraits through the use of backdrops and props, and explores tales of migration and diaspora through self-portraiture, performance and symbolism.  

The installation for Photo Oxford 2020, on the Northgate hoardings in central Oxford’s Cornmarket (outside WHSmith), will show the stunning Self Portrait as My Father (2019) – an image of the artist dressed as her father that responds to his experience of arriving in Italy from Toga. The installation links to further images and an interview with the artist, available through the Photo Oxford website. 

The Encounter series was originally commissioned through the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards for early career artists, and was exhibited at Jerwood Arts in London, and then on tour internationally, as part of a Jerwood /Photoworks Award that the artist received. 

The area around the Northgate development has strong historical connections with Oxford’s female photographers. WH Smith now sits on the site where photographer Helen Muspratt’s studio, Ramsay & Muspratt, was once based; she worked there for 40 years, until the 1970’s. Muspratt’s works are being exhibited by The Bodleian Library as part of Photo Oxford. Alice Buttrum, the city’s first female professional photographer, also had a studio in Market Street opposite the Northgate development around 1895.

The theme of the Photo Oxford Festival 2020 is Women and Photography: Ways of Seeing and Being Seen. Danielle Battigelli, Festival Director, explains, “This year coincides with the centenary of the first women matriculating and graduating from the University of Oxford. What better time and place could there be for celebrating women and their diverse roles in international photography? This - the third - Photo Oxford Festival is a celebration of women as photographers, curators, collectors, researchers and photographic subjects. We are extremely grateful to Jesus College for their support of this outdoor installation.” 

Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Principal of Jesus College, says, “We are delighted to be supporting this wonderful exhibition and the Photo Oxford Festival 2020. We have drawn much praise for the Northgate hoardings from the local community and visitors to the city, so we’re delighted that this new exhibition will further enhance the area around the development.”

 He added, “The exhibition launch coincides with our programme of activities to mark Black History Month. Silvia Rosi’s work not only engages the audience in her family’s personal story of migration but also speaks to the global narrative around equality, diversity and inclusion, themes that are central to the College’s mission.”

The Photo Oxford Festival runs from Friday 16th October – 16th November with online and outdoor events across the city.

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Notes to editors:

  • The Jesus College hoardings on Cornmarket Street were designed and installed in 2019 and will remain in place for the duration of the development of the new Northgate building. The hoardings tell the story of the College, from its founding by Queen Elizabeth I in 1571 through to the present day, and feature well-known alumni and academics alongside current staff and students.  To read more about Jesus College and the Northgate project go to


  • Photo Oxford was established in 2013 to bring internationally acclaimed photography and photographic debate to the city of Oxford.  Photo Oxford hosts exhibitions and events in collaboration with local, national and international partners to bring examples of photographic excellence to the region, develop new audiences, nurture talent, and promote investment within the sector.
  • The Jerwood/Photoworks Awards support photographers, or artists using photography, to make new work and significantly develop their practice. The Awards particularly seek to encourage artists and photographers exploring new approaches to photography, and/or whose practice is experimental.