- Words Notion Staff
- Director Duncan Lewis
- Photography Serena Brown
- Creative Direction Daisy Deane @ DELA.STUDIO
- Styling El-Shaddi Nyagodzi
- Makeup Nance Katende
- Hair Cassandra Abolaji
- Production Studio Notion
- Assistant Director Matt Turner
- 2nd Assistant Director Alfie Casting
- Runners Charlie Brown & Lilly Turley
As Tate Britain opens its doors to a new collection of free art displays, south London rapper-singer ENNY discusses how she seeks inspiration from eclectic art spaces.
Since its inception, Tate’s network of galleries has told expansive stories of art history, exploring how they still resonate with people today. Similarly adept at storytelling is ENNY, the South London artist known for her explorations of community and connectivity.
Nowhere is this more vivacious than on “Peng Black Girls”, the equally empowering and resonant single that propelled ENNY to stardom three years ago. Over funkadelic basslines and twinkly melodies, the Thameshead poet depicts Black British life with compelling conviction. Millions related to the sharp flows and rhyme schemes, including the Grammy-nominated Jorja Smith who hopped on the track’s delectable remix.
Teaming with Tate, we caught up with ENNY at the famous Tate Britain gallery to discuss her inspirations beyond music. For the south Londoner, indulging in different art forms allows her to look for wider meaning and make music with new horizons. Thanks to the Tate Collective scheme, which helps young people to find art in unexpected ways, many others are doing just the same. From discounts to exclusive £5 exhibition tickets, the scheme is all about making art more inclusive while encompassing all disciplines.
Here, the multitalented artist talks about how she seeks inspiration through innovative art spaces like Tate Britain, which has just updated its free displays for the first time in a decade.
What inspires your own version of art?
The thing that inspires my own version of art is life. Reality. Everyday existence. I think that humans are sponges, and once you squeeze yourself, you let everything out.
Art allows expression in a way that manifests itself in a beautiful way. There’s an emotionality that comes for me personally when it comes to music, in that I’m allowed to express myself with music and words.
Where do you get inspiration for your visual process?
The inspiration for my visual process is drawn from other films and art, photography, paintings, and again, just everyday life. One day you might be on a bridge and look at a motorway, and think, ‘That would be a great shot’.
How does art inspire you?
This version of art inspires me, in that it allows me to see art outside of the context in which I know art. I know art as in music, but it’s interesting to see how expression can be relayed through someone else’s art. When you take a second to think that art came from someone else’s emotions and imagination, you can break it down in a different way.
How does art from a gallery spark inspiration for you?
First of all, it takes you into a context you may not know. I feel like that’s why, as a child, you’d be taken to an art gallery ‘cause it’s not something you see every day. And then you come back as an adult, and it’s a different context and you appreciate it more for what it is. It’s important that people get the opportunity to just understand something that’s outside of their everyday life and appreciate a moment for what it is.
What time period of art do you find most interesting?
The period I probably find most interesting is stuff from the ‘70s and after, so like, Andy Warhol. From his era and post – probably because it’s a bit more pop-y.
What type of art do you connect with most?
The type of art I most connect with is photography and film. I’m more of a visual person and I like a bit more context to stuff.
Is there anything you specifically look for in art?
I just wait to feel something with art. I let it speak.
Watch ENNY explore:
To discover how art influences you, Tate Britain and Tate Modern are free to visit all year round. Between 16 and 25? Sign up here to become a member of Tate Collective for £5 exhibition tickets, discounts across food and drink, and unmissable events.