A Margate-based multidisciplinary artist with a strong focus on large-scale paintings, both indoors and outside. The work can be described as both figurative and socially surreal. Catherine also works with sound and moving image in a collage type of way, connecting footage/sound at random.
Wonder Under is inspired by the ancient sea life of Africa, referencing both the bountiful beauty of sea flora and a celebration of the African sea goddesses who reside there. The work here is about the dual nature of water; its abilities to renew and cleanse, alongside its capacity to destroy and take away anything in its way. With Mother Africa being the birthplace of humanity, we enter into the waters that hold the imprint memory of all time and all that has passed through it.
A layered sea map, connecting and overlapping boundary lines, with reference to the movement of people and these complex layers of history. As we navigate through the unknown waters, the essence of healing is reflected through the work within the colours chosen.
The figures within the work reveal themselves the closer you look, immersed within their surroundings, and very much part of it. The waters allow us to re-enter this space of wonder, and contain everything, enabling us to let go of anything we hold onto, whether that be trauma or desire; the water washes it away, as the sea goddesses take us on a journey of rediscovery.
Rodell Warner (b. 1986) is a Trinidadian artist working primarily in new media and photography. His works have been exhibited at The Whitney Museum of American Art in the 2016 Dreamlands exhibition as part of the collective video project Ways of Something, and at The National Gallery of Jamaica in the 2016 exhibition Digital, and at the 10th Berlin Biennale in 2018 in I’m Not Who You Think I’m Not #14. Rodell is a recipient of the 2011 Commonwealth Connections International Arts Residency, and the 2014 summer residency at NLS Kingston, and was commissioned in 2017 to create the Davidoff Art Edition, a series of five artworks printed onto a limited edition of five thousand boxes of luxury cigars and presented and sold at Art Basel in Hong Kong, Miami, and Basel. Rodell lives and works between Port of Spain in Trinidad, Kingston in Jamaica, and Austin, Texas, in the US.
My inspiration for this piece was a combination of painting and photographs redrawn and repainted. I have created a montage of paintings, drawing and paper works using spray paint, Posca pens and photocopies.
My intention was to create an image that was stark and bold with facts and quotations for the viewer to ponder and consider about the ramifications of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans and its damming legacy. I wanted something more graphic and poster-like, with the use of paintings and photographic mash ups.
My current colour palette is black, white, green, red and blue.
Jasmine Thomas-Girvan was born in1961 in Jamaica and has lived in Trinidad since 2000. A sculptor, trained in jewellery and textile design, she received her BFA from Parsons School of Design in New York.
Beyond Time and Space celebrates the fecundity of African knowledge systems and imagination.
Akan Gold weights, Ibeji-twin births, murmuration, cowrie currency, obus structures, navigation by stars, and Anansi together signify Africa’s rich cosmology. They embody the interwoven connections between the land, spirituality, craft traditions, biological hybridity, and even modes of exchange. Synergistically they stand across time, space, and species, crystalized in a philosophy that privileges harmony between man, nature, and celestial realms. This offering is a retrieval- evocations of Africa -an invitation to a pathway to greater awareness of our magnificent ancestry. Awareness ultimately leads to our healing.
We honour the past to transform our lineages backward, to grow, and create new pathways forwards. I hope that awareness of these unique elements of our potent legacy in the words of Kamu Brathwaite “will lead the community more easily into a wholesome relationship with the Ancient future and the approaching past.”
Below are a few expanded themes:
Carved wooden Twin figures at the British Museum led me to the discovery that the Yoruba peoples from the Congo region have the highest incidence of twin births in the world. I find this telling in a world of decreasing fragile fertility…
An above-average number of twins is born on the African continent compared to other parts of the world. The Yoruba people as well as other African cultures attribute supernatural origins and spiritual power to twins. As a result, twins are regarded as extraordinary beings protected by Sango, the deity of Thunder. They are believed to be capable of bestowing immense wealth upon their families or misfortune to those who do not honour them.
The two figures on the globe stand like sentinels to commemorate this astonishing biological gift.
AKAN GOLD WEIGHTS
Akan Gold weights were used as a measuring system by the Akan people of West Africa. These elegant objects were essential tools for trade in West Africa until the end of the 19th Century. Beyond their practical application, the weights are emblems of tradition and social values carefully crafted to illustrate proverbs and folktale wisdom. They illuminate the intricacies of a complex society, keeping memories of battles, myths, and legends alive as an art form. Their significance transcends their utility and reflects wider Asante spiritual beliefs. They show how materials, ideas, and technology have been exchanged between different parts of the African continent and Europe for centuries.
One of the main motifs on the globe, a replica of one of the gold weights, shows people on a boat traversing the vast ocean. This celebrates the insight of Ivan Van Sertima that Africans traveled across the oceans arriving in the Americas long before they were transported on slave ships.
‘They came before Columbus’ outlines these extraordinary voyages. African advances in agriculture, mathematics, arts, engineering architecture, writing, medicine astronomy, and navigation made audacious journeys across vast oceans physical and possible.
ANANSI and the architecture of the web.
As engineers of possibility, Africans evolved their own advanced guidance systems to endure and survive treacherous crossings. This was a dialogue with the stars but more importantly, supported by ‘constellational thinking’ central to African cosmology and life. Anansi, the Spiderman-Akan God of Stories, Wisdom, and Knowledge and a central figure in West African folktales not only survived the voyage across the oceans from West Africa but consolidated African cosmology in the daily lives of Africans in the New World in our oral traditions. Anansi is best known for his ability to outsmart and Triumph over powerful opponents through his use of cunning, creativity, and wit.
Anansi’s domain – the spider’s web has a complex and mysterious design that has exceptional strength and flexibility. It is stronger than steel almost invisible yet can survive winds that exceed hurricane strength. The psyche of Africans who survived the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans, like the spiderweb, is resilient and indestructible. Like the strand of a spider’s web, it is made up of infinite diaphanous strands of Ancestral frequencies. I believe that our resilience and identity continue to be nourished by this ancient wisdom. It reverberates in our music, spiritual practices, food, architecture, and in every imaginable facet of Life.
Murmuration is an extraordinary natural phenomenon where a huge mass of black sweeps across the sky. This spectacular movement is of birds moving in concert, swirling, surging, and constantly changing form. The shifting patterns and rhythm of the birds are a remarkable force of nature. The birds fly in intricately coordinated patterns through the sky to maintain cohesion as a group in highly uncertain environments to protect the collective flock. Black is the colour of darkness and mystery, the unseen and unknown. A bird in flight can represent the connection between the physical and the spiritual.” Birds of a feather flock together” describes a simple survival instinct, a strategy similarly exercised by the people of Africa. This unity is manifested in the principle of UBUNTU – I am because you are. Ubuntu is an eternal African Philosophy of ‘Oneness’ – this oneness is an understanding of the interconnectedness of all life.
The cowrie shell was one of the most successful and universal forms of currency in the world. In West Africa, the shell developed a deeper symbolic and ritualistic meaning throughout history that is still recognized in modern cultures. The size, shape, and minimal weight of the small white shells made them suitable as a form of exchange. Cowrie shells hold great symbolism. In African legend, it represents the protective power of the Ocean Goddess Yemaya. Their rounded shape is attributed to their connection to fertility, and the slit where the shell curves inside of itself has been said to look like a black pupil, making it popular as a symbol of protection against the evil eye. It is used as a divination tool in traditional spiritual practices.
A graduate of the Edna Manley School of Art in Jamaica, Ras is a Barbadian painter with his work being heavily influenced by the Rastafari movement. In 1998 he was awarded the Barbados Service Star in that year’s Barbados Independence Honours.
Mfikela Jean Samuel is a Contemporary Artist (Painter) from Africa but now resides permanently in North Wales. He has travelled across Europe and Africa and his paintings have been exhibited throughout the world in both public and private galleries and other cultural events. His primary medium is oil colours/acrylic on canvas. His source of inspiration comes from his African Cultural Heritage especially the ways of life of his lineage both past and present. His brush strokes are bold with vibrant colours, depicting the vast richness of his diverse cultural story and heritage. He also uses historical and contemporary themes where fact, imagination and illusions are brilliantly depicted. The great sceneries and landscapes of North Wales have captured his attention as seen in some of his works. As an Artist of his time, he has recently explored contemporary issues like Climate Change, Artificial Intelligence and Crypto Currency in his newest Art Forms.
I have painted my opinion of the greatness and glory of Mama Africa. I have endeavoured to include all regions of Africa, their cultures and their traditions, their customs and their natural resources. I carefully chose my colours to reflect the warmth of the African sun and I adorned my piece with some African symbols that show the endurance and greatness of Africa. I also use symbols from some languages in West Africa that existed long before the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans and colonisation.
The African savanna and her giants like the lion, elephant, giraffes and ostrich are also represented. Egypt has an established place in world civilisation, philosophy, culture and architecture. I did not forget the sphinx, the pyramids of Giza and I simulated Ramesses the Great. I used acrylic paint on the globe and added to the work later with poster colours.
My art is still life. Reflections, expressions and projections rooted in time, past/history and tradition, about Nostalgia; my longing and yearning for home and a lost, simple way of life and identity, a sort of paradise. It involves the integration of two different traditions and cultures with a history to re-imagine, re-contextualize and evoke visions, memories and myths of the Pre-colonial African past. It is also a celebration of the past and future as well as a mourning of the loss of a past way of life.
My desire as an artist is to reach for and always point us towards the source of things; the truth; the essential, intrinsic quality of things; of identity through the vehicle of culture and nature; both inwards and outwards; harmony. Being partly based in – and having strong connections to – Nigeria in West Africa, I see richness and abundance in remnants of the past, in the present and a bit of the future In front of me everyday. It is my reality.
I have a strong desire – personally and for others – to look deeper and draw back from a great source: Mother Africa and all the hidden treasures she holds within her to reimagine and recreate a new world befitting us. I am inspired by the Yoruba concept of the world/earth as a gourd/calabash. The calabash is a metaphor for the world and women – alluding to everything they incarnate into this earth, hold and carry which includes creation, fertility and life.
The calabash has been cultivated and used for centuries; iti s a fruit that has been used and recreated into almost any utilitarian, domestic, musical and ritual, mystical tool within African culture. With its journey through time, it can reveal a lot about the past and reality of Mother Africa and also her future. The calabash is a symbol of Mother Africa in which the pre-colonial historical memory of people, culture and nature is stored, conjured, recalled and reimagined.
I reimagined the world as a metaphorical calabash, filled with the abundant tropical rain forests of West Africa that sustains us; from where our cultures and way of life originate and by which we are inspired. It is a timeless utopia set in the past, elsewhere, here and there, within us, in the present and also in the future. It has just begun; everyday is new and Mother Africa is everywhere – within us, in the heavenly bodies, in the vegetation, in the custodian gourded forest spirits below; deliberating a new world, always conceiving, always pregnant and birthing new things for the greater good and lighting the path for others on a journey to find their way back.
For Jay, art is a primal practice that connects us to Ancestral Strength, Sacred Healing and the Divine Cosmos. Growing up in East London, Jay was surrounded by a multicultural environment, and a close proximity to Epping Forest.
From her time spent in forests and taking trips to the beaches of her ancestral home Antigua, Jay possesses a long-lasting love for divine nature. This theme is present throughout her artwork, where she makes romantic references to water and flora. An Obeah woman and Spiritworker, Afro-Caribbean cosmologies lie at the forefront of Jay Percy’s psyche and art.
Themes include African diasporic loss of indigenous spirituality, in addition to reminders of the strength we can all find by reconnecting with the animist practices respective to ancestral homelands, prior to colonisation.
Jay works with acrylics and hand sews cowries and crystals directly onto canvas. She combines her love of highly saturated colours and royal golds with African Orisha worship, psychedelic print, and a fundamental belief in the right to explore one’s own consciousness.
For this commission, I have been deeply inspired by my time in the London Lucumi Choir, where we sang songs to the Orisha (Yoruba gods and goddesses) alongside my own spiritual interests in the concept of ‘The Divine Feminine’, an archetypal deity that appears throughout all world cultures. I bring this back to the Mother Africa theme, by relating it to the three most famous Orisha of the Pantheon: Yemaya, Osun and Oya.
Yemaya (Mother of Oceans) represents the older Mother. She is gentle and nurturing, and like many Divine Feminine figures is also full of power, exerting her rage when necessary. She represents the ‘new world’, where African diasporic women have had to learn to be both nurturer and protector.
Osun represents the young Mother, full of energy, naivete, sweetness and softness. She represents the old world, before many of our ancestors were taken. Sweet innocence and true connection with nature.
Oya bridges the two, representing the middle passage. Oya is a Warrior Goddess. Our ancestors had to be strong in the middle passage – Maroons, renegades, warriors.
All three energies represent Mother Africa. African diasporic women such as I have had to tap into these energies throughout our lives to survive in this world.
Finally, Ghanaian Adinkra symbols, beautiful in gold, represent the qualities we have found amongst our communities as women, to keep moving forward through adversity:
I am obsessional about colour and pattern; as a result my work is an exploration of meticulous detail and an explosion of bright colour. Things I love illustrating – animals and wildlife, allowing me to indulge in my passion for the environment & natural science, as well as whiling away the hours creating curious characters interwoven with whimsical narratives. Above all else I enjoy drawing and creating work that allows me to escape into the world of my imagination, a place that makes me smile and in turn I hope makes others smile too.
My design responds to the theme of Mother Africa and is a celebration of African culture, spirituality, tradition, craftsmanship, communities and history and is focused on the period before the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans. I worked with closely with the collections at the International Slavery Museum between 2014 and 2019 creating artwork, learning worksheets and workshops.
This design is inspired by the West African collection held at the museum and features cultural artefacts, tools, ceremonial objects, Adinkra symbols and decorative designs from their reconstruction of an Igbo compound.
I hope that my design shines a light on the anthropological significance held by these objects, motifs and artefacts as well as the rich cultural heritage of West Africa before the atrocities born out of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans affected this region.
Kialy is an interdisciplinary artist and designer based in Glasgow. Textiles, costume and animation inform her practice, which combines and contrasts hand and digital techniques.
As a queer artist with Cameroonian heritage, born in Cardiff, raised in Reading and the Ivory Coast, and now living in Glasgow, my personal Black history combines conflicting extremes of privilege, which have left me feeling unsettled in every culture. There is also the dizzying conflict of being bisexual whilst being raised in spaces filled with ambient homophobia, and growing up in the relatively liberal UK whilst knowing Cameroon’s homophobia to be an inherently colonialist, Christian and eurocentric conceit. The reasons for this internal conflict cannot be erased, but I would like to evolve them into something celebratory, both for myself, and for other queer Cameroonians.
My globe depicts an interpretation of Toghu cloth, the traditional textile of Cameroon. This is typically made of black velvet and richly embroidered in red, gold and white chain stitching. I have chosen to depict this embroidery in pink. Queerness will be literally embroidered into the fabric of Cameroon, forcing the viewer to grapple with the complexity of my community. I have also included a repeated motif of a carved wooden mask, which is based on a fourteenth century Cameroonian mask currently held in the British Museum. The presence of this mask, looted from Cameroon and currently held in Britain, raises questions about which colonial imports Cameroonians choose to uphold. In an idealised world, Cameroonian homophobia would be repatriated in exchange for its priceless cultural artefacts.
In the world we currently inhabit, I believe queer Cameroonians must carve out our own versions of Cameroonian identity. The black and pink patterned globe is intended to be visually bold, taking up all the space that queer Cameroonians often cannot safely fill. I hope that it will give queer Cameroonians throughout the diaspora a sense of reclaimed power.
With almost a decade in the creative industry, Emma Blake Morsi is an award-winning Multi-Disciplinary Arts Producer, Non-Executive Director of Rising Arts Agency and former Bristol City Council’s Culture Board member. She’s a prolific visual storyteller, predominantly working across photography, words, graphics, film, events and sound.
Born in Nigeria and Bristol-raised, she has previously lived in Germany and worked internationally across the Middle East to Africa, with commissions by Arts Council England, Method, gal-dem, Bustle, Saffron, Youth Music, BBC, Harper’s Bazaar, PUMA and many more. As a creative intersectional environmentalist following years in STEM, her research consisted of developing a sustainable circular system repurposing waste substances to using hybrid tools for creating inclusive nature-inspired experiences.
Morsi challenges approaches to inclusion and innovation in the spaces she works, producing work that can be experienced by all but most importantly gives visibility to and engages those from marginalised groups.
The Courageous Untold Stories of African Environmental Heroes & Sovereignty Guardians.
My globe responds to the Mother Africa theme and utilises key symbolism and references that highlight and reimagine much of the inspirational parts of global history, where the untold stories of African environmental heroes and sovereignty guardians are centred. Inspired by the eclectic aesthetics, textures and history of the continent, I’ve incorporated my ‘Naturtraits’ style, which distinctly illustrates the connection between humans and nature through collaged silhouettes.
Each section brings to life reimagined parts of our pre-colonial, traditional and colonial history as well as our present day reality and future potential. It aims to honour those who bravely fought for justice and our rights by reimagining them depicted in the dignity and peace in death that they didn’t always receive while alive, and to celebrate those who are paving the way for a brighter future. Despite representing a small percentage of the global population, indigenous people protect the vast majority of the world’s biodiversity.
By focusing on the significant environmental legacy across the continent, it brings to light many of the courageous stories of those who have dedicated their lives to protecting the biodiversity of our richly diverse lands and as well as our rights to a healthier, greener life – preserving it for future generations. Likewise, this same approach honours the untold stories of our sovereignty guardians, who showed bravery in times of great vulnerability, as well as the significance of our global pre-colonial influence – a reminder of our potential and worth outside of Western context.
Untold stories features the next generation of environmentalists, represented by Vanessa Nakate and brave ancestors like Ken Saro-Wiwa, president of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People who was executed in response to their activism against oil extraction in Ogoniland.
It also features stories of great rulers, from the diasbled Queen Amanirenas of Kush and her legendary golden arrows and influence of Mansa Musa to traditional legacies, such as Àdìǹkrá symbols and Griots who keep traditions alive to this day.
Fiona Compton is a London based Saint Lucian photographer, artist, filmmaker and historian. After graduating from London College of Printing in 2005 with a BA in photography, Fiona has been working as a professional photographer, working for the UK’s largest publishing houses, travelling between the UK and Europe to photograph some of the most influential figures in the world of Finance and Banking. Over the past 13 years her work has explored the various disparities in representation of the Afro Caribbean diaspora within art and mainstream media. In 2017 she launched her multi disciplinary project ‘The Revolution of the Fairytale’ which celebrates lesser known heroes from Black History under the nostalgic platform of well known fairy tales. Fiona remains a strong advocate for her history and culture and is an Official Ambassador for London’s Notting Hill Carnival, the second largest street festival in the world.
Palace Of The Peacock is a homage to the enslaved women who resisted enslavement by the use of poison.
I came across the work of botanist Maria Sibylla Merian – who travelled to the Dutch Guianas in the 1700s – and amongst her beautiful drawings and descriptions of the flora and fauna of Suriname, was a short passage describing the peacock flower. I was struck by both the beauty and tragedy of this unexpected passage – especially the language used – that the enslaved women were ‘threatening’ to refuse to have children. They understood the value of their bodies, hence their refusal to enrich the pockets of slave owners by way of the suffering of their children.
Uncovering the complicated history of women’s agency of their own bodies under chattel enslavement, this piece aims to draw in viewers through the use of the bright beauty of the peacock flower. Interwoven between the peacock flower lies two key elements, the cassava flower, which was a plant root used to create another poison used by the enslaved to poison their masters in resistance. An integral element of the diet of enslaved on plantations, its natural accessibility gave the opportunity for enslaved to take control over their own lives by way of poison.
The second element interwoven into the flowers is the names of enslaved people across the Caribbean who were executed in brutal and horrific ways for poisoning their masters. Instances where these people risked death in the hopes of freedom, even if it is freedom of choice over their bodies. The title of the piece comes from the novel by Guyanese writer Wilson Harris, which tells the story of a woman who escapes from the clutches of a cruel European colonist.
This globe aims to be dichotomous through the beauty of the bright and joyous flowers, with the tragedy and triumph of these women who made the ultimate sacrifice in the quest for freedom.
Mussarat Rahman is a community artist and poet. For the last few years she has been experimenting with 3D art and installations with a variety of community groups and festivals. She runs social action projects, and delivers community programmes with different communities, and in particular with refugees and asylum seekers. Her work addresses themes of migration and movement, religion, spirituality, materialism, politics, and gender. She designs projects around local and global issues which affect society and particularly affect communities. Her projects are designed to create a reaction and be interactive to engage audiences.
My globe was influenced by the ancient roots of Mother Africa, and their legacy, spiritual roots and ancestral connections to the cosmos. My artwork engaged though placemaking with the key elements such as the heads, the hands, and the movement on the globe. Since the beginning of humanity’s ability to travel across the seas, Africa has always captured the imagination. But this led to the murder and enslavement of a continent – fragmenting each country – by white men who distorted the purity, history and culture of Africa itself; bringing death, dis-ease, and fracturing societies instead of acknowledging the continent’s inherent beauty.
The hands represent the countries, nations of Africa, and show the multiculturalism and the rich tapestry of people who live there. The heads represent the powerful lineage of women and men whose roots can be traced through their ancestry. The guns represent power –when you can’t control a nation, guns are used. The bullets represent the brutalisation of a nation; for the white man’s greed how much blood has been shed? Here you can see the guns have a double element – the candle flames – which represent peace after conflict.
The head inside a head represents recognition of the ancestral links, connecting into a deep inner wisdom that is intergenerational, passed down by mother to child. Both heads represent the passing on of ancestral wisdom of the elders making a connection to the younger generations who will take up the mantle and champion the rights of Mother Africa; a call to its warriors of wisdom, always seeking the flame of truth.
The flame represents innate spiritual wisdom, truth, justice, harmony and peace – burning eternally for Mother Africa.
Susan Thompson is an abstract painter based at Kindred Studios, London. Her interest in art started in childhood. Although she has spent the majority of her working life nursing;she has always made taken time to engage in some form of art making and further education. This has included completing an Art Foundation Course at the Camberwell School of Art in 1984, an Art Therapy Postgraduate Diploma at Goldsmiths College in 1990 and more recently, a BA Hons Fine Art Degree at Oxford Brookes University in 2014.
Water has been the conduit of oppression and displacement for millions of enslaved African peoples. Vast oceans have also been witness to the deaths of many of those lives as they sunk to their deaths in water’s formless grave. The thought of using water came to me from watching a television clip of a rushing river. Water has played a large part in the world’s history.
It is an essential part of our existence and affects all of us. I thought, ‘What if the oceans could talk to us? What stories would they tell?’ They would be an impartial witness and narrator to the world’s history. There is a belief by some scientists and researchers that water holds memory.
How might that be affected by all the millions of enslaved African peoples who lost their lives at sea? Most of our bodies are water. We are all part of that shared eternal cycle of death and renewal.
The teardrop is a symbol of the many tears that have been shed: are still being shed and for the many tears that will be shed in both despair and joy for our shared humanity.
A Tottenham based multimedia artist currently largely working in acrylics to commission on commemorative portraits. Lucy has exhibited solo and in groups locally, nationally and internationally in galleries, temporary exhibition spaces and public outdoor spaces. Lucy is also a writer and actor.
In response to the theme, I found many narratives told by former enslaved people, mostly from the United States, although many travelled to England on lecture tours, often sponsored by abolitionists or their congregations. I have concentrated here on narratives available in the English language.
Many had taught themselves to read and write, although some of the narratives were written by fellow abolitionists; Ellen Craft’s narrative was incorporated into her husband’s and Nat Turner did not live to write, or dictate his tale, but it is well recorded. Hence the title In Their Own Words (Mostly).
The faces I sourced and depicted on the globe – many from a swollen North America; Mary Prince in Bermuda: Olaudah Equiano in Africa – have etched in them the memory of slavery. Beneath Olaudah’s western garb a hint of the strip weave patterns of the Eboe region he was kidnapped from suggest the cloth he might once have expected to be adorned with.
It is from these faces I have drawn my inspiration and from their narratives I have learned about the conditions in which they were kept. Cuba and the West Indies are seen here as sharks consuming an endless chain of enslaved people. Imported gunpowder explodes and bottles of rum pour into the heart of Africa to finance the wars which perpetuated the trade in enslaved people.
South America I filled with the work of the unnamed enslaved, and the triangular trade routes I have filled with depictions of the infamous cargo of enslaved African people, the colonial imports of raw materials gathered and mined by these people, and the products that were manufactured – the colonial exports. The colonial appetite for the profits emanating from this practise resulted in the racialisation of slavery. My process aims to help reinstate these people’s position in our history.
Laura is an extremely passionate painter and her work is rich in narrative. Laura attempts to challenge people’s emotions and to inspire the notion that through creating art we can both educate and liberate ourselves. More recently she has dedicated time to developing her skills in photography using both traditional and contemporary methods. She has pursued a career in teaching and alongside this has continued to develop her own studio practice, recently winning the accolade of ‘most realistic and most creative’ submission to ARU’s ‘Sweet Anatomy’ Competition, as judged by Grayson Perry. Additionally, Laura is no stranger to producing public artwork. She has contributed successfully to the ‘Go Penguin trail’, ‘Liverpool Greats’ and the ‘Books about Town’ initiatives, where her work was displayed outside of the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
I conceived the idea for my creation enriched by my experiences of growing up in Liverpool which was inspired by Liverpool’s deep heritage and by poignant visits to the International Slavery Museum.
The powerful accounts that were given about how people were taken from their beds in the middle of the night to embark on what is referred to as the ‘middle crossing’ has been ingrained in my memory. The design pays homage to the importance of the sea and the claustrophobic encounters as described by the people. The street names in Liverpool that link directly to the ‘slave masters’ have been graffitied on the rocks. Along with the anchor, the chains are embedding the rocks firmly into the sea bed. In some of the rocks one can identify human forms which have been depicted in close proximity to one another.
My design acknowledges the okra flower as being a symbol of hope and the courageous work of Nanny of the Maroons. It reminds us all that during time’s of great adversity there is always a glimmer of hope and light – portrayed by the light penetrating the surface of the sea.
Glen is a freelance artist and has worked professionally as a Fine Artist/Scenic Artist in the corporate and design industry. Glen also worked for Damien Hirst at his studio, and he regularly completes commissioned artworks for The Connor Brothers in London.
Jane Mota is a concept and written word artist with a degree in Fine Art as a Social Practise and English Literature. She creates concepts that are influenced by a lifetime of study in art and cultural history, a curious mind that explores and moulds her influences to bring a new present day relevance.
Her influences are very varied, from the Renaissance era to the DaDA period and aspects of Modernism from art and literature. She travelled for many years and became fascinated by her experiences with other world views and world cultures.
Jane works closely with her partner Glen Brooks, and at this point collaborates, where Glen Brooks exquisitely brings Jane’s ideas and initial sketches and ideas to their final splendid destination. Glen meticulously plans and executes the technical side, the painting or mixed media to produce the final piece on either sculptural or flat spaces. Alone she also enjoys writing funny entertaining stories about her travels on facebook, finding freedom through her personal creative style.
Our globe, which responds to The Reality of Being Enslaved theme, is a cotton ball which represents the enormous harvest expected daily by each enslaved person who worked on a cotton plantation. After the cotton gin was invented by Eli Whitney in 1793, the value of cotton soared and the industry grew rapidly. Although cotton itself is soft, it is surrounded by a hard and thorny structure that would cut the hands and legs of the workers, many of whom were children as young as eleven, who were considered to have the ideal height and hand size for picking. After a day of 12 to 18 hours each person’s harvest was weighed. There were severe consequences if the person did not meet the expectations.
The red in our design represents the blood shed in this industry. From 1800-1860 enslaved African Americans harvested 2 billion pounds of cotton. Almost all of the 80% exported to Europe went to Britain where it was made into cloth and re-exported. Cotton was the most important raw material of the Industrial Revolution which was instrumental in creating our modern world economy.
We want this globe to commemorate the humanity of those enslaved. We hope for public awareness and appreciation of the terrorism that was unleashed against millions of enslaved African men, women and children. We wish this to be a meditative memorial which considers and commemorates each life lost to the oppressive pursuit of the cotton cash crop.
Donna Newman is the Artist behind Eden-Designs Murals.
A freelance artist based in the Midlands, she has been working as a professional muralist and painter for over 15 years. Donna responds to clients with creativity and flair producing original, playful designs in a wide variety of subjects. Working predominantly as a commissioned artist within school settings, she seeks to inspire young people by transforming their learning environments with her vibrant artwork.
Her unique and innovative designs always seek to educate through their creative interpretation of the curriculum and she often works directly with school groups to create bespoke artwork through collaborative children’s art workshops. A self-proclaimed addict of public art trails, Donna has worked closely with Wild in Art on over 50 sculpture commissions.
This design responds to the theme The Reality of Being Enslaved and in particular the story of Voyage. Whilst researching my design, I came upon the poem Slavery written by Hannah More, one of the most prominent female writers championing the abolitionist cause in eighteenth century Britain. I was particularly drawn to the lines of the poem which referred to light and darkness.
I was reminded of the slave ships, or ‘Guineamen’ as they were known, and the horrific realities of the tortured human cargo crammed into their dark hulls. My design references the great maritime art of the eighteenth century and presents a subverted view of the golden age of sail. The glorious ships with their billowing white sails bathed in sunlight stand in stark contrast to what lies beneath.
The base of the globe has been inspired by the 1791 Brookes slave ship diagram – one of the most recognisable images from the campaign to abolish the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans in Britain – which provided the public with a clear visual representation of conditions on board slave ships for the first time. From a distance the base appears as a pattern but on closer inspection the figures of the enslaved are revealed.
Extracts of the poem wrap around my globe design, delivering a visual metaphor for the abundant wealth and pleasure that the sweat of the dead has procured for others.
Roy was born in Nottingham City Centre in 1958. The son of a long Distant Lorry Driver and a Lace Maker, cobbled street were still the norm. Roy’s most recent murals have been painted in Father Hudson’s Care Homes in Coleshill. With further work commissioned.
I have always been very moved by the painting The Slave Ship by J.M.W. Turner. In his painting you see a ship in the background and hands rising out of the tumultuous waves. Turner exhibited this painting at The Royal Academy of Arts in 1840 and it was originally called Slavers Throwing overboard the Dead and Dying—Typhon coming on. It is speculated that Turner had read about the Zong ship. It haunted me, and possibly him, that after throwing enslaved people overboard due to a lack of drinking water, an insurance claim was placed on the bodies from the Zong. I was and still am deeply impacted by the treatment of humans as cargo.
In my piece I paint what happened in this scene below the surface of the water. I believe it’s really important that we as a society are clear and honest about how horrific the reality of this history was and is. The hands in Turners piece were more than hands. They were humans. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, lovers.
I name most of my work after songs. I have named this piece How Deep Is Your Love?, after the song. It is centred around a couple holding each other as they sink. I imagined how the people who were sent to their death would have comforted each other in these last moments. I wanted to show their humanity in the face of such inhumanity.
Godfried Donkor is a Ghanaian artist, living and working in London, who has exhibited in Cuba, Mexico, the US, Europe and Africa. He is known primarily for his work in collage, and has been described as similar to Keith Piper and Isaac Julien in his output. He is a multidisciplinary artist interested in the socio-historical relationships of Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. Donkor also has enlarged his practice to painting studying the relationship between slave trade and boxing in his exhibition with Gallery 1957 in 2021, London, UK. Godfried’s work for Denmark Hill station marks the artist’s first permanent public commission. He worked with a wide range of local partners – including the Camberwell Ident
The inspiration for my globe was the theme The Reality of Being Enslaved. I started by looking at, and thinking of, all the enslaved peoples of the world – currently, from antiquity and throughout history – and trying to imagine the most important preoccupation that they would have: namely, and by any means necessary, to flee from that state and take flight towards the ideals to which all humans aspire.
Sohaila Baluch is an artist and writer with a research based practice that draws from feminist strategies to unite craft traditions with fine art practice. Her work engages with durational practices, working with materials and processes that privilege the notion of gendered labour with a poetic intensity; to challenge the dominant aesthetics and discourse of Western patriarchy. Her work incorporates print, mixed media, installation, performance, text and moving image. Sohaila is a Phd Candidate at the Royal College of Art, London, UK. Her research is focussed on disrupting dominant narratives that tell racialised bodies they do not belong through a feminist activist practice that uses difference as a mode of resistance and re-imagining.
My globe design is based on jute fibre ropes. It is impossible to ignore the narrative these objects speak to, particularly as historically many British rope-making firms were also managing slave voyages. Ropes like the ones on this globe could have been used to transport human cargo. People were enslaved and bought in exchange for goods shipped in the most vicious and inhumane ways across the Atlantic.
These objects hold on to the stories of violence, oppression, and inhumanity that are inexorably linked to the history of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans. Not only are they witnesses to the brutal legacy of imperialism, they serve as lasting symbols of the exploitation and cruelty of European colonialists in their displays of power over the Black body.
Used to bind and tie the globe, they demonstrate the centrality of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans and the vastness of a racist system that continues to restrain, tether and oppress bodies of colour that are viewed as ‘other’. The history of slavery touches every one of us in all corners of the world. The false reality established on the deceits and betrayals of imperialism must be challenged and retold.
In foregrounding the reality of being enslaved by using ropes to bind the globe I want to make clear the devastating and brutal legacy of slavery. It is our past and present, and the truth of this history must continue to be told and heard in full if we are to create a future that offers new possibilities; one that nurtures, supports and enables Brown and Black bodies to make meanings that demand changed social, cultural and political landscapes.
Caroline is an artist from Manchester with a background in Theatre Design, who is often inspired by wildlife and prefers to work by hand using traditional mediums. Her murals and paintings can be seen on public walls, shop fronts, shutters and sculptures within Greater Manchester and her fine art prints are sold in many gift shops and galleries in the UK. Caroline also enjoys working as an arts facilitator providing a whole host of art workshops for young people and community groups within the North West of England, specialising in mural painting and willow lantern making for community festivals and parades.
There is a dark cloud at the top of this globe representing the pain and suffering of Africans, forcibly uprooted from their homes and enslaved. It also represents the dark cloud hanging over our history; how the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans has been historically misrepresented and Britain’s significant role in the trade’s creation. The rain has been created using cotton threads dipped in paint and then printed onto the globe, highlighting the use of slavery within the cotton industry.
The numbers around the globe show the estimated numbers of people taken and enslaved from the different regions of Africa. The colour purple has been used because in the Catholic Church it represents sorrow and suffering and here it highlights the church’s role in slavery.
There are four hundred swallows on the globe representing the four hundred year span of the trade in enslaved Africans. Swallows migrate across the Atlantic and thousands die on the journey due to exhaustion and starvation. However swallows are also often depicted as a symbol of hope, and as you walk around the globe the colours turn to lighter tones reflecting hope for a brighter future and for racial justice and equality.
Marcia Brown M.A (QTLS) is a Multi-disciplinary Community Artist and Teacher based in West Yorkshire. She graduated from Leeds Beckett Park University with a master’s degree in Contemporary Fine Arts Practices. She is a recipient of the Edna Lumb Travel Scholarship and the Black Achievers awards for her work in Community Arts.
Originally trained as a painter, she taught herself to play the guitar and became a music maker. Her passion for Roots Reggae Music is at the core of her creativity and informs her paintings, digital artworks and music production ideas. The retention of her cultural heritage using the lyrical content of Roots Reggae Music and photographic images is paramount to her art practice. Her vibrant paintings seek to explore the relationship between music and colour and the annihilation and lost function of African Artefacts/objects held in Museum Collections throughout the world. Her mission is to create art and music that inspires, empowers, and educates.
My work is an inquiry into the relationship between the church’s mindset toward the enslaved African people and the church’s role in society.
I am fascinated by the art of stained-glass windows and Biblical narratives. New stories are reworked to reveal an alternative and hidden agenda from a different point of view. The shape of church window panels is a thread throughout my work. The window panels of this globe act as a gateway into a personal investigation about the history and Stolen Legacy of a people.
I strived to find a way to tell this story visually and create a different mode of pictorial language and image making. My creative process involved sketching, thin wash-like paint layering and blending techniques to build up the colour, alongside the use of symbols, words, images of African artefacts and iconic people from the African diaspora.
The viewer is invited to open their mind and connect to the world of storytelling and the notion of spirituality and visual dialogue.
Alison Turner is a professional mosaic artist known for her quirky approach to mosaic art. She creates artwork for gallery exhibitions, private collections and public installations. Describing herself as an “Artistic Recycler” Alison sets stone next to broken pottery, discarded ceramics next to glass thus creating eclectic work that will be admired for years to come.
My design for the theme Stolen Legacy: Rebirth of a Nation will hopefully encourage the viewer to question their perspective on the history of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans.
I wanted to depict society being physically ‘held’ by the hands of an enslaved person, saying ‘Don’t forget us, our sacrifice is at the very soul of the society of which you are a part.’ I want to highlight the fact that our nation was created out of suffering and revisit the misplaced legacy towards the slave traders who benefitted from the barbaric treatment of the people they traded.
Mosaic itself is diverse by its very nature. Using glass, pottery, ceramic tile, mirror and vintage crockery, I have included buildings in the cityscape which have specific and direct links to the slave trade including Speke Hall, Bristol Old Vic, Guinea Street and The Georgian House. The hands of the slave are edged in spent bullet casings to encourage the onlooker to consider the suffering and sacrifice made by the thousands of lives that were traded and disregarded…this globe is for them. To honour and remember exactly who built our society.
Together we can look back and relearn history from another perspective in order to understand the generational effect slavery has had on our ancestors and in turn, improve our future. May we always remember the roots of the foundation of society for it has blood running through its veins. Hand Model – With thanks to Nathan Oladipo.
Kazvare’s passion for creative illustrating stems from being able to express her ideas in a way that doesn’t require words. “I absolutely love words and think they are so powerful, but what I love about illustration is that often, it is a tool that helps me to express an idea that I’d probably need hundreds more words to articulate in the same way”, she explains. “Sometimes the messages behind my work are actually quite heavy, so using illustration and imagery brings a little bit of levity.”
My work is critical of the imperial gaze, because I have understood that the positioning of whiteness is neither central nor neutral. Courage, boldness, playfulness and joy are the essential elements in my art. Moreover, bright colours and humour are the disarming weapons through which my messages are carried.
My goal is to create work that gives ample space for Black people to feel seen and understood. My globe explores what it means to subvert the imperial gaze and remove Europe as the centre of one’s frame of reference. The work also alludes to the fairytale ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ and the reality of plunder and stolen legacies on the African continent.
Abbi Bayliss is a digital illustrator and visual artist. Abbi has exhibited at Tate Britain with Tate Collective, Bristol Light Festival’s Banksy installation, Lush UK and had a regional exhibition tour of her Black Portraits Project exhibited across the South West to Carnaby street. Working within Bristol’s Art sectors such as Arnolfini and RWA, she’s also a Rising Arts Agency creative and the youngest member of the Visual Arts South West Steering Group. Alongside this, she’s a published illustrator of two children’s books, been commissioned by the BBC and has written podcasts for the National Trust, earning her title by Rife Magazine as one of Bristol’s most influential people under 30.
Bruised Showers acts as a tapestry, illustrating stolen histories. Similar to the way rain divides a city, conversations around slavery’s ongoing relevance continually shows people’s ignorance. Even after abolition, it has trickled down into racism in education, employment, security, housing and wealth. However, like the flood, rain also makes us observe, exposes the hidden and cleanses.
When exposed to rain, copper corrodes; a common theme in the piece due to Swansea’s production of copper bars and manillas as currency in the trade in enslaved people at the White Rock works. Their involvement with wealth extraction is captured, retelling how rubber was stolen from Congo’s forests, exploiting our lands as well as our bodies.
My motif of the black dot encircled in white symbolises British colonies, with many territories still under colonial rule. Look at this image in two ways: the West’s hold on Africa and the Caribbean versus holding the West accountable for their crimes in our homes. My 20 red figures draw light to the £20million – equivalent to £17billion now – that compensated slaver instead of the actual former enslaved and their families, contributing to inequality in the systems we have in place today. The current ethnicity pay gap is large, with Black African and Caribbean households holding around 15p for every £1 of White British wealth, shown by the physical divide on the golden raindrops.
I wanted to emphasise the importance of healing being a form of reparations: through our joy, self-care and freedom. The words of Malcolm X became my muse for this piece as he summarises my message clearly, “If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there’s no progress. If you pull it all the way out that’s not progress. Progress is healing the wound that the blow made.”
Kione Grandison is a London-based, multi-disciplinary artist with a strong cross-cultural practice that spans across various interests, influenced by her Jamaican, German and British heritage. Working across different forms and media, Grandison produces paintings, mixed-media collages, sculpture, hand- painted clothing and nail art. Her work is interested in numerous subjects – from the Black beauty industry, Jamaican music and dancehall culture to traditional African adornment and tools of ‘beautification’, such as the hair comb.
‘Mama Africa’ represents the common ancestor of all people of African descent. I wanted to depict her as a warming presence, adorned with jewels, beadwork, scarification markings, and an afro comb placed within her hair. She represents the rich culture and spirit of Africa, which was disregarded and somewhat forgotten through the forced displacement and enslavement of generations of African people.
I wanted to show the wealth of Africa before the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans, and the beauty that still lives on. The opposite side of the globe represents Britannia, a warrior-like figure who often represents the power and national pride in Britain. Here, her helmet is adorned with cotton, her trident replaced with a sugar cane, and her shield with the interior plan of a ship built to transport the enslaved; to acknowledge Britain’s disregard for humanity, and the true history that was the engine of Britain’s economy up until the nineteenth century.
Between these two portraits, I have depicted Matilda Mcrear, the last known survivor from a ship transporting the enslaved, whose birth name was Abake, meaning ‘born to be loved by all’. Matilda was captured in West Africa, illegally sold at the age of two and taken to Alabama on the ‘Clotilda’, the last known ship to bring enslaved Africans to America, in 1860. Matilda died in Alabama in 1940 at the age of 83, neither having received reparations despite her efforts, nor returning to Africa. Matilda is remembered by her family as having scarification markings of the ‘Abaja’ type on her left cheek, indicating that she came from the Yoruba tribe. I have depicted Matilda seated upon a beaded Yoruba throne.
Opposite Matilda, the final part of my globe is a depiction of the wealth received by enslavers in order for abolition to have taken place. 46,000 enslavers were compensated twenty million pounds – the equivalent of seventeen billion pounds today. British taxpayers only finished paying off this debt in 2015. Let us not forget.
Kassessa is a visual self-taught artist from Angola. From an early age, he was interested in art and developed a great passion for creating plays, toys and art crafts. He creates different concepts and translates them into different artistic expressions through live events – stages and exhibitions – or through printed, digital, sculpture and painted mediums.
He enjoys working with different materials and he expresses himself through his art, highlighting and bringing awareness to different societal issues and the people they affect.
Part 2 of a series AFROPINK.
My globe concept is based on the legacy stolen from African people. With my work I suggest that we still feel the scars from the inhumane treatment of humans during this time which I believe has led to a loss of self-love for Africans.
In this painting I feature boats that crossed the Atlantic and I show people in the water, thrown overboard. I want to draw attention to the loss of life and the insurance policies that were used to protect the slave owners and transporters, not the enslaved people. Despite the fact that the enslaved people were humans, and therefore priceless, they were treated as cargo.
I wish that the world will start looking at Africans with fresh minds and love this great continent – its people and cultures.
My colour palate has different shades of pink as the dominant colour tone and I thought about the idea of Afro Pink which speaks to the love I want to send to Africa, to Africans, to everyone.
Lou is a mixed media artist from Bristol, UK. She is also a proud citizen of Barbados (her husband’s place of birth).
Lou’s work, which ranges from drawing and painting to graphic design and printmaking, reflects her love for bold design and striking colour and she is heavily influenced by the great local street art and music scenes that her home city is famous for.
Lou is also inspired by Bristol’s diverse mix of cultures and the sights and sounds of urban life. She also loves to seek inspiration when spending time in Barbados with her family.
Lou is self-taught and enjoys working with a variety of mediums. She loves experimenting and learning new techniques and has recently developed a style that has enabled her to combine some of the design characteristics of screen printing, stencil spray painting, collage and sketching in order to digitally produce some new, multi-layered giclee prints. Lou has also started undertaking some private mural commissions, examples of which can be found on her website.
When we think of the word ‘legacy’ we often think of it in terms of inherited money or property. In the context of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans it usually represents money which has been made by European nations off of the back of slavery.
There is another side to this topic though – the human side – the legacy that is part of a person’s history. These are things that remain from an earlier time: customs and traditions that are passed down through society and families – the precious legacies that shape us all as people. The Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans robbed many African people of their ancient customs and traditions once they became enslaved.
For example, drumming – an integral part of African culture – was forbidden by the plantation owners who were fearful of the practice and saw it as a means of cultural resistance. In Barbados in the 1600s they even instituted a law to outlaw the playing of drums, with one of the penalties being death.
In response to this the enslaved people began adapting their African derived music to sound like that of the Europeans (making drums out of local materials to substitute for those they had left behind in West Africa) and these bands became known in Barbados as Tuk bands (which still feature in Barbados modern culture today) – ‘tuk’ being derived from the Scottish word ‘touk’, meaning to beat or sound an instrument. They also played these instruments as a form of rebellion.
With my design I wanted to feature the strength, resilience and adaptability of the enslaved people as they tried to keep hold of their customs whilst dealing with the reality of living and working in inhumane conditions thousands of miles and worlds apart from the homes, families and lives they were forced to leave behind.
The works of Leon Miller, BS51, reflect his life journey. From The Wild Bunch blasting in the abandoned warehouses of Bristol to his first jobs collecting glasses for every pub in King Street, these experiences have shaped how he approaches his art practice.
He explains that his breakdowns have shaped him as an artist. His fellow artist and friend FLX, Felix Braun, taught him how to do a stencil when he was going through his divorce and struggling to manage this personal crisis. His stencils and murals talk about his Caribbean heritage since his grandmother came from Jamaica in the 1950’s, as well as the most intimate tribulations of the artist/decorator. BS51 describes his creative process as a jigsaw, but backwards. Everything starts with an image which is digitalised or drawn, he then uses a scalpel to cut specific segments that will eventually become stencils and build the entire piece.
After that breakthrough with stencils, BS51 has had incredible commissions including advertising walls for Love Saves The Day Festival, Toyko Dub, and Windrush on Camber Street for St Pauls Carnival. Several of his pieces adorn walls in his home, along with some of his friends’ works from ‘Team Shlick’, a hub of collaborators and creators that BS51 formed with other famous names like 3DOM, Inkie, DNT and many more.
As our motorways are busy today, so once was the Atlantic Ocean’s triangle of trade routes between Britain, Africa and the Caribbean.
The plunder of Africa’s gold, diamonds and people – taken to either the Caribbean or England – created great wealth for many men, such as Edward Colston in Bristol. As for the jewels in my design, large jewels have long been associated with the British monarchy. The arrows on the globe have texture to replicate dry blood from the skin of many millions of enslaved people who were beaten, tortured and killed during the TransatlanticTrade in Enslaved Africans. To have just sprayed red and gold paint on with a smooth finish felt wrong, when those journeys were far from smooth for the enslaved.
There is a stitch – just one – which just says we are all the same underneath; can you find it?
All arrows – all the money – point to England, whose wealth grew over the centuries of exploitation. Bristol became one of the biggest centres of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans. How many buildings which adorn our city of Bristol were built by money from this trade? Even after the Abolition Act in 1834, enslavement carried on, with some British ships going under European flags and joining with foreign companies for many decades thereafter.
There are three different types of ship on this globe; it’s for you to find them, see the difference, and make up your own mind as to what this means.
Emotions have run high during the process of making this piece. I have come to tears sometimes trying to put myself in the situation that so many enslaved people were forced to endure. If this shows a fraction of what those people went through, don’t thank me, salute them for their bravery in the face of suffering: they were the true warriors.
An artist working predominantly in printmaking and illustration, Gregory works in traditional lino prints and digital illustration and is inspired by forms found in architecture and nature.
This globe represents the church’s central involvement in slavery. It kept enslaved people in bondage when it could have freed them. The profit from slavery also contributed to the church, funding buildings that represent the legacy of the institution today.
This globe has been painted with flat colours: gold highlights the profit, blue is the Atlantic ocean, whilst the purple band represents the church, surrounding and arching over the globe. The constellations represent the imbalance of justice for the enslaved and the trade routes navigated by the ships. The compass points to the four poles; injustice, plantation, church and shipping.
Nicola is a multidisciplinary London-based artist, she graduated from Central St Martins in 2021 with a degree in Jewellery Design and is currently studying a Master’s Degree in Art & Science. Her practice focuses on using human hair as a storytelling tool to challenge the intricate and complex relationship between race and identity we encounter in our daily lives.
She has developed an innovative method of transforming human hair into a sustainable material that can be laser cut, producing contemporary pieces of jewellery inspired by the beauty and versatility of black hair. Her work has been exhibited during Munich Jewellery week and is owned by private collectors, Central St Martins Museum & study collection including their Materials library.
In September 2022, she will begin a residency with Favelab in Athens on a collaborative art project launching in 2023.
I chose the theme of Abolition and Emancipation because I was inspired by the story of the Palenque people from San Basilio de Palenque, a small town in Columbia.
I was reading Emma Dabiri’s ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’, and was struck by the power of the story of how hair was used as a tool to help the enslaved find the free land that was founded by Benkos Bioho. Plaiting and braiding was used as part of an ingenious way to map the location of Palenque; the enslaved couldn’t risk writing the information down, so they hid it in plain sight. The plantation owners had no idea that the hairstyles were a form of communication which eventually led to their freedom. They would escape in groups of four and would put grains of rice in their hair so that once they arrived they could plant their own crops.
I tried to include these elements into my design, which represents a birds eye view of the four heads of enslaved people joined together and forming a map. The partings are the roads and there are rice grains tucked into the image just as it would have been tucked into their hair. The black background represents the night, as I imagine that would have been when they chose to escape.
The contrast between black and white also represents the state of the world at the time – a metaphor for the extreme racial division. The globe is designed so that wherever you stand you will see four heads joined to form a map, like a compass rose, allowing the people to find their own way to freedom.
Gherdai Hassell is a Bermudian born, China trained, multidisciplinary contemporary artist, writer and storyteller, based in Manchester, UK. Her work investigates memory and nostalgia to construct and deconstruct identity. She uses collage and painting to thread and weave histories, and tales of transformation passed down through family lineages. Her work typically centres female bodies, simultaneously existing within realms of past, present, and future. Her work is ultimately about migration, a gradual process of being and becoming the future. Her multimedia work reimagines relationships with the body as avatar, social space and the invisible world. Her artwork is a part of public and private collections across the world.
The ship ‘The Enterprise, en route from Alexandria, Virginia to Charleston, South Carolina, encountered a storm, and washed onto Bermuda’s harbour with cargo of mainly mothers with suckling babies and children aged five or six. More than fifty of the enslaved people on the ship were children, most of whom had been kidnapped by raiders from their Washington and Maryland plantain homes.
After emancipation in the British colonies, the price of enslaved people in the southern states of the US were at a premium. The children and mothers on board the ship, were to be re-sold into slavery in South Carolina. The ship’s captain was informed that slavery was already abolished in Bermuda, so in Bermuda waters the people would be considered free. The people were not listed in the ship’s manifest; it only included tobacco, bricks and feed. A legal battle ensued.
The captain argued that the people were not Bermudian, they were American, and the ship was not intentionally in Bermudian waters since the boat was headed from a Northern US port to a southern one. A Bermudian organisation, The Colored Family Society heard about the ship, and advocated for their immediate release. All 78 persons on board the ship appeared in court and were permitted to decide for themselves if they wanted to remain in Bermuda or return to the ship. All chose freedom except one woman and her five children who chose to return to the US.
This globe is in honour of the children of The Enterprise, who chose freedom for themselves and became Bermudian by way of the ocean.I construct and deconstruct identity, revealing layers of history and the complexities of post-colonial and Afro-Caribbean heritage. Currently my research work is investigating the onion and its relationship to Bermuda archives. I use the onion as a metaphor for identity.
In Bermuda, the people are affectionately referred to themselves as ‘onions’, which dates back to the island’s production of onions during slavery. Black women were ‘minders’ of the onion seed, meaning the main caretakers of the cash crop that made Bermuda wealthy. I am using the layers of the onion in parallel with the layers of my Alibii figures, who represent the mothers on board The Enterprise.
Fiona Compton is a London based Saint Lucian photographer, artist, filmmaker and historian. After graduating from London College of Printing in 2005 with a BA in photography, Fiona has been working as a professional photographer, working for the UK’s largest publishing houses, travelling between the UK and Europe to photograph some of the most influential figures in the world of Finance and Banking. Over the past 13 years her work has explored the various disparities in representation of the Afro Caribbean diaspora within art and mainstream media. In 2017 she launched her multi disciplinary project ‘The Revolution of the Fairytale’ which celebrates lesser known heroes from Black History under the nostalgic platform of well known fairy tales. Fiona remains a strong advocate for her history and culture and is an Official Ambassador for London’s Notting Hill Carnival, the second largest street festival in the world.
A journey of resistance, we tell the story of the revolution in Saint Lucia. Hundreds of enslaved men, women and children unified in defense of their freedom, fighting against the system of British slavery. So strong was this unified resistance, that many freedom fighters joined their comrades on neighbouring islands in solidarity; several islands in the 1790s were ablaze with the fire and fury of freedom.
Vastly mountainous and filled with emerald rainforests, during the revolution of the 1790s, Saint Lucia’s enslaved community rose up in revolt, forming a community of self-liberated African and Caribbean born people who lived in secret enclaves in the impenetrable forests. Called the N èg Mawon, these men and women fought fiercely and heroically in the face of the British army, who tried to suppress, pacify and re-enslave them. ‘Liberte ou la mort’ (Liberty or Death), was the call of the N èg Mawon, as the conch shell blew across the mountains, and the British Army was defeated under the fire and fury of the N èg Mawon.
Enslavement and sugar were the incentives for the British to reinvade Saint Lucia after many months of celebrated freedom, and many men, women and children who fought for their freedom were taken as prisoners of war to Porchester Castle, Portsmouth. Some died along the way in the murky waters of the British coastline – their souls carried home by ancestral spirits.
Today we honour the N èg Mawon; their fire, fury and fight for freedom. The globe was created as a collaboration between two Saint Lucian artists – Hailey Gonzales and Fiona Compton.
I loved designing my cornrow inspired globe; I have always marvelled at the intricate nature and artistry of cornrows, and the skill and patience of those who create them.
Rise Up reflects my penchant for line-doodles and pattern, by celebrating the creativity, initiative, and traditions of African people. It explores key events in the journey toward emancipation, paying tribute to abolitionists, and in particular the role played by female campaigners who themselves were ‘prisoners of gender’.
The central figures are symbolic of individuals rising up to campaign for abolition, as well as Africans later celebrating their emancipation. The contrasting gold background symbolises the financial gains associated with the trade in enslaved Africans. I have also woven words into the design that are associated with Abolition and Emancipation, together with the names of abolitionists and campaigners – female and male – some of whom are relatively unknown.
In addition, Rise Up recognises that hair is a huge part of a Black individual’s identity – black hair is Black history. Pictorial evidence of cornrows dates back to 3000 BC; African warriors and kings sported them in the early nineteenth century; and, in many African societies, braid patterns and hairstyles communicate a person’s community, age, marital status, wealth, power, social position and religion.
The heads of many enslaved people were shaved – ostensibly for sanitary reasons – but also to distance them from their own culture and identity. Many brave individuals adopted cornrows as an act of rebellion and resistance. Cornrows were a secure and secret way to communicate to other enslaved people; if they wanted to escape, women would braid a style called ‘departes’, whereas other patterns took the form of maps, depicting escape routes from plantations and captors. In addition, gold coins and seeds were ingeniously woven into cornrows for safe keeping, to aid survival following escape.
GE is a mixed media artist based in Swansea. She came 3rd in the Glyn Vivian’s Art Gallery Swansea open 2021.
“All persons are equal by law, so that no person can hold another as a slave”, Charles Sumner.
My piece was inspired by the Back to Africa Movement which helped spawn the Abolitionist movement. In 1787, the British Crown founded a settlement in Sierra Leone called the Province of Freedom where freed slaves could start over.
Sierra Leone is one of the world’s largest fishing grounds and its main resources are diamonds, rutile, gold, iron ore and bauxite. My piece aims to bring to life not only the pain and sadness of this dark period, but the sheer beauty of Sierra Leone.
Àsìkò is a conceptual photographer whose practice is anchored by the interpolation of his emotional experiences as a Nigerian born (and raised) British citizen, into a life-long, cultural and spiritual exploration of his Yoruba heritage. His work is motivated by a drive for greater self-awareness, authentic creative expression and therefore the development of a visual language that articulates new ways to understand the liberatory possibilities of African diasporic identity.
The word abolitionist is usually synonymous with activists such as William Wilberforce, James Ramsey, John Wesley, and the Quakers. In the eighteenth century, Black abolitionists who had themselves been enslaved played a crucial role in abolition of slavery in the UK. Through their published autobiographies and public speaking, they helped to bring the British anti-slavery movement into the public eye. Their autobiographies highlighted the harsh realities of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans, recounted from their point of view and thereby giving a voice to the voiceless.
The artwork is a series of three portraits of the Black abolitionists; Olaudah Equiano, Mary Prince and Ottobah Cugoano who lived in the UK between 1745 and 1833. The work celebrates these abolitionists through the medium of photography and collage. This globe reimagines the three abolitionists in their European dress incorporated with aspects of their African heritage.
The work employs fabric aesthetics into the storytelling ensemble of symbols within the artwork. In African cultures fabrics play an important role in showing where a person is from, their social status and identity. The work juxtaposes the European clothes and fabric worn by the abolitionists at the time against the indigenous fabrics of their African cultures.
I was inspired by their bravery and determination in the face of great opposition in the social societal structures of their time. Through this work I hope to shine a light on the Black abolitionists in British society who were instrumental in shining a light on the atrocities on the trade in enslaved Africans.
Tamika is a documentarian and multimedia visual artist. A Bahamian native, Tamika’s work examines the complexities of living in a place shrouded in tourism’s ideal during the age of climate concerns.
Emphasising the importance of Bahamian cultural identity for cultural preservation, Tamika documents aspects of Bahamian life not curated for tourist consumption to intervene in the historical archive. This work counters the widely held paradisiacal view of the Caribbean, the origins of which arose post-emancipation through a controlled, systematic visual framing and commodification of the tropics.
The Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans is an abstract concept for most of the world. Macro concepts such as “Africa” and “the West” are frequently used loosely in conversation.
The British, having established a system for slaver compensation prior to emancipation, kept painstakingly detailed records of the enslaved who were displaced to their colonial dependencies. For those of us in post-colonial Caribbean countries, the registers of the enslaved make the experience much more micro; individual details of the enslaved in our respective countries is quantifiable, even if only for a short space of time.
This globe design superimposes a snapshot of the register of enslaved people from Golden Grove plantation in Cat Island in the Bahamas from 1822, alongside some of the earliest photographs of the colonial Bahamas by J.F.Coonley (1889) and William Henry Jackson (1905) from the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas’ National Collection.
It contains the names of Charlotte: an enslaved woman who, based upon archival records, played a large part in the uprising of enslaved people at Golden Grove in 1831 – and who made several attempts on the lives of her slavers – as well as her children, William and Guy.
The advent of photography on the heels of the end of apprenticeship in British colonies contributed to a purposely skewed and romanticised representation of people and place. But the registers of the enslaved take us closer to truths surrounding the conditions of their existence – one of the most glaring is that slavers truly regarded them simply as chattel.
Marcus Dove’s main artistic focus is utilising pyrotechnics and other exothermic materials like gunpowder and smoke grenades in order to communicate the process of ‘creation via destruction’. He predominantly works large-scale on canvas to produce figurative narratives.
This design is made up of gunpowder chains that were ignited to scorch their surrounding area, an example of this method, which I often use. The base of the globe is painted in ‘vanta black’ the darkest substance known to humans as this represents one of the darkest times in human history.
Rising out of the darkness are emancipated chains and block shapes in red which represent the bloodshed and sacrifices which lead to freedom. Pieces missing depicted by the grid shape in the background are there to remind us that there will always be unfulfilled potential and people missing due to the atrocities of slavery.
All of this is based on a background of blues, which are the inverted colours to black, representing African skin tones. This inversion represents incarceration and slavery which is the exact opposite to freedom that the people of the time should have been experiencing.
Bristol-based, visual artist Oshii combines bold colours with layered compositions to a multi-disciplinary practice to produce fine art which challenges social narratives, explores social and political issues and evokes dialogue. He has had work featured in Tate Liverpool and The Venice Biennale and worked with brands such as Jack Daniel’s.
My practice – which incorporates installations, sculpture, painting and street art – challenges social narratives, explores cultural origins, history, and political themes. My work explores history and its relevance to modern society and examines subject matter that is often overlooked in contemporary western narratives.
I use a variety of practices and methods in my work, ranging from collage to sculpture, however the materials I use are determined by the subject matter itself. In 2D form, I paint large images onto pieces of paper and deconstruct them, using destruction as a form of creation, to produce layered, bold collages which question the way we understand the world and our society.
For my globe, Hidden Gems, I explore and share the unacknowledged histories of the many uprisings and rebellions that took place throughout the history of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans. Using the colours found in the flags of the countries in which some of these events took place, I allude to Jamaica, Haiti & the USA in particular, where the largest, most notable and successful uprisings occurred. The image conveys shapes of enslaved peoples fighting for their freedom against their colonial oppressors and draws attention to the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804, where the Black enslaved fought and defeated the French and British colonial armies, leading to Haitian independence in 1804; a transitional point in history.
This piece acknowledges and celebrates these events and their ongoing legacies and aims to broaden our understanding of our shared history and the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans.
Phoebe Boswell’s figurative and interdisciplinary practice explores modalities of freedom, migration, contested histories and imagined futures through a black feminist and multilayered, diasporic lens, denoting a commitment of care for how we see ourselves and each other. Working intuitively across media, she centres drawing but spans animation, sound, video, writing, interactivity, performance and chorality to create layered, immersive installations which affect and are affected by the environments they occupy, by time, the serendipity of loops, and the presence of the audience. Boswell’s drawings, installations and film & video works have been exhibited widely internationally and are held in collections including the UK Government Art Collection, the BFI National Archive and The Studio Museum, New York.
Emancipation, and yet we continue to exist in this constructed world – rooted in, tethered to, and reliant upon conditions of un-freedom. So we imagine new worlds; we imagine freedom. We cultivate methodologies, safety mechanisms, loving ecosystems, refusals, creativity, joy, in an attempt to live freely in the wake. But what is this? Are we singing, or are we screaming?
Jioni Warner is an artist born in Leeds. She is currently in the final year of her BA at Staffordshire University. From a young age, Warner developed a passion for art. She describes herself as a mixed media painter but has experimented with lots of materials over the years.
As the granddaughter of a woman who was part of the generation of West Indians who answered Britain’s call for workers, this globe’s title, Weh Yuh From? Weh Yuh A Go?, seeks to understand what my ancestor and others like her went through, in their migration to Britain.
This globe is a personal response to reflecting thoughtfully and broadly on the British Caribbean history which pays homage to the Windrush generation, instilling a more profound sense of empowerment to what our forebears achieved in paving the way for the future generations, including my own. Having these discussions around the Windrush brings further details into their stories which can be passed onto future generations.
Maya Angelou wrote “You can’t know where you are going until you know where you have been.” This has been shortened in a Caribbean dialect which has created the title.
The portrait paintings over the collage pay tribute to the Black womxn as they are overlooked when discussing our history, dealing with the triple oppression of racism, sexism, and classism. They represent the grandmother, mother, aunties, sisters, daughters, and others dear to us.
The collage of photos was sourced from archives, and the internet and collected from the Leeds and Liverpool Caribbean community. They seek to highlight the Black British experience and culture containing photos from the 1950s to 1990s, covering the arrival, daily life, cultural events, and the hostile environment.
A special thank you to all who sent in their family photographs to be used to make this globe come alive, and especially to Max Farrar who has photographed the Leeds Chapeltown community since the 1970s.
Shivanee Ramlochan is a Trinidadian writer. Her first book of poems, Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting (Peepal Tree Press, 2017) was a finalist for the People’s Choice T&T Book of the Year, and was shortlisted for the 2018 Forward Prize for Best First Collection. “The Red Thread Cycle”, the central suite of seven poems from her debut collection, won a Small Axe Literary Competition Prize for Poetry (second-place), and was on audiovisual display at the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas.
Shivanee has received residencies and fellowships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Millay Arts, and Catapult Caribbean Arts Grant. She has served as a poetry reader and judge for Commonwealth Writers, Honeysuckle Press, Moko Magazine, Forward Prizes and others.
A Spanish-language edition of Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting is to be published soon. Her second book, Unkillable, on Indo-Caribbean women’s disobedience, is forthcoming from Noemi Press in 2023.
Although a second-generation West Indian who grew up in London, Alvin Kofi’s creative perspective is very much African-centred and he seeks to explore, learn and celebrate the traditional notions of African culture. From his formative years he has studied and practised African cosmology and this is evident in his work. Kofi studied graphic design at art school, but his preferred choice of expression is painting, and his preferred use of narrative, the human form. His figurative paintings re-examine universal themes through the Black figure drawing from ancient mythological stories that still have relevance today. Exploring these theme’s he plays with the representation of ideas which we hold on to layered with motifs and symbols that allow us to interrogate what we believe. Kofi is a multi-disciplined artist working in mediums across the public and private sector producing installations to sculptures but concentrates his practice around the expression of painting. Whichever medium he is using, his approach is to get back to materials that are authentic and organic to the conversation or question being had in the process. Alvin was a finalist in the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year Award 2020, and he is one of the Highly Commended artists participating in the Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize 2021 online exhibition of long-listed artists.
The complex triangular movement of material goods and enslaved labour between Europe, Africa and the Americas enriched colonial empires. The ghost of that movement exists today, echoing the same economic manipulation of resources. Throughout this movement of resources from the southern to the northern hemisphere, cultures have been dismantled and destroyed; their ritualised customs denied and demonised. And their most sacred artefacts that embodied cultural identity have been removed as booty, and through other unjust means.
Interpreting the theme, A Complex Triangle, this idea is narrated through colour, symbols and historical icons which comprise the content of the globe entitled The Longitude Of Culture.
Gold dominates the colour palette, signifying our precious planet and the gold that motivated Europeans to explore Africa in their thirst for riches and knowledge. Within the traditional cultures of Africa, symbols and motifs have always been used to document the changing historical narrative. Pulling from those traditions I have created my globe.
Overlapping symbols, colours and shapes help convey the complex timeline linking the past to the present. Born out of the idea of the Adinkra symbol, ‘Mpatapo’ depicts the knot with no beginning or end – representing peace after conflict, emulating that unbroken line of connection. The recognisable slave ship, the gun, the lion, the plane, the Black Star to Garvey, the aised fist synonymous with the Black power movement and now Black Lives Matter, all have become icons of resistance against white supremacy.
With the call for the return of many cultures’ most precious artefacts, it is only right that African spiritual belief systems be recognised and acknowledged as justified frameworks through which we see the world and its history. The flow of knowledge from those indigenous cultures along the lines of longitude into Western culture has, and can, add to the discussions of our future world.
Gold: Richness of our cultural inheritance and the main colour of the globe, representing the wealth along the Gold Coast – wealth that brought economic stability to those foreign cultures, but also drove the greed of Europeans and destruction of Africa’s cultures.
White: Closely associated with sugar, that sweetness which compelled Europeans, and committed hundreds of thousands to a life of enslaved labour to satisfy the taste buds of so few. Whiteness also fuels the concept of superiority and imposition of colonialists’ religion on their subjects.
Grey: The colour of iron from Europe used to trade with Africa. A material that became the main contributor to wars through the development of arms creating a devastating advantage in the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans and its use to dominate Africa.
Copper: A natural material found in Africa played a major role in assisting the process of enslavement. Copper sheeting used on hulls reduced the weight of the ships transporting the enslaved human cargo, shortening the journey time across the Atlantic and reducing the number of slaves that died, improving the efficiency of this brutal economy.
Kim Thompson is a commercial illustrator and print artist based in Nottingham, UK. With recent clients including Columbia Records, Penguin Random House and Converse, Kim’s work is a visual love letter to nostalgia and kitsch, utilising storytelling, vivid colour and celebrating bold characters both real and imagined. Kim’s work often centres notions of sisterhood, Black joy and empowerment via otherness.
Windrush 1948 is a tribute to the British Caribbean community that came over to rebuild the UK after World War II. The piece seeks to take focus away from the ship itself and raise up the Caribbean community who, despite continuing to face racism and social injustice today, are a vital part of the fabric of the UK and its culture, more than worthy of acknowledgement and celebration.
Hazel Blue is a South African artist currently living in Glasgow, Scotland. Born in Zambia (Northern Rhodesia) in 1963, she grew up in Durban, KwaZulu Natal. Growing up in the climate of massive political and social change, Hazel is highly conscious of having had a privileged life as a white South African. Hazel later taught at Johannesburg Art, Ballet, Drama, and Music School in the five years preceding the 1994 elections. It was a volatile time with marches by the ANC, Inkatha Freedom Party and AWB starting on the street outside the school. Hazel’s work “Going Home?” from 1992 depicts people on a bus with a child as the focal point. The title refers to the violence that had erupted in Townships at this time. Hazel is currently working towards a MA in Arts Education. Her dissertation will investigate the teaching of Art History in Scottish Secondary Schools, interrogating the often Eurocentric perspective.
My work can be described as Social Realism. I am particularly interested in depicting the effects of socio-political events which adversely impact the lives of so many people. Children and women often find themselves the innocent victims of war. From the plight of children affected by apartheid to the ongoing refugee crisis, especially the current context of Europe and the United Kingdom.
I am intrigued by the juxtaposition of colonial imagery with that of cultures which have lost so much of their own identity as a consequence of centuries of global European expansion. I work in a variety of mediums, including screen printing, drawing and painting in oils, acrylics and watercolours. Drawing inspiration from life, art galleries, museums, literature, news, and social media is important in the creation of my mostly representational works which aim to present recognisable imagery that can appear deceptively nostalgic, but carry a serious message.
The World Reimagined project is a perfect platform of expression for a subject that is already close to my heart. As a white person born in Zambia (Northern Rhodesia) in 1963, who grew up in South Africa in the apartheid era, from an early age I have been conscious of social injustices. Apartheid, a result of colonialism, has fed into my artistic development. The Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans is inextricably tied up with the cruel domination and, in some cases, near annihilation of indigenous peoples like the Khoisan.
My design covers more than one World Reimagined theme, but best represents, A Complex Triangle. The colonial wallpaper is a metaphor for centuries of denial and cover ups. A figure from Jean-Honore Fragonard’s rococo painting, ‘Blind Man’s Bluff’ (1750-52) is depicted on the paper signifying the blindness, selective or otherwise, of many western people to slavery in the past and the effects of its present-day legacy. The gradual disintegration of Empire slowly reveals more and more truths which can no longer be concealed – the truth will out.
Yinka Shonibare CBE RA (b. 1962) in London, UK, studied Fine Art at Byam Shaw School of Art, London (1989) and received his MFA from Goldsmiths, University of London (1991).
His interdisciplinary practice uses citations of Western art history and literature to question the validity of contemporary cultural and national identities within the context of globalization. Through examining race, class and the construction of cultural identity, his works comment on the tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe, and their respective economic and political histories.
In 2004, he was nominated for the Turner Prize and in 2008, his mid-career survey began at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, travelling in 2009 to the Brooklyn Museum, New York and the Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C. In 2010, his first public art commission ‘Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle’ was displayed on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London and is in the permanent collection of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
In 2013, he was elected a Royal Academician and was awarded the honour of ‘Commander of the Order of the British Empire’ in 2019. His installation ‘The British Library’ was acquired by Tate in 2019 and is currently on display at Tate Modern, London.
Shonibare was awarded the prestigious Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon Award last year. A major retrospective of his work opened at the Museum der Moderne, Salzburg in May 2021 followed by his co-ordination of The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London which opened in September 2021.
Shonibare’s works are in notable museum collections internationally, including the Tate Collection, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome and VandenBroek Foundation, The Netherlands.
The World Reimagined is a world map, reflecting historical trade routes and intercontinental power relations.
The Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans involved the transportation of enslaved African people by slave traders, mainly to the Americas. The trade regularly used a triangular route across the Atlantic and its Middle Passage and existed from the 16th to the 19th centuries.
A map that charts this triangular route, indicating the channels for the colonial trade in enslaved Africans, critically reflects the history that connects the African continent to the western world. However, by labelling the former trade routes with the names of African cultural practitioners and pioneers, historical and contemporary, it reverses the phenomenon of Western Enlightenment. African brilliance and intellectualism, formerly patronised and suppressed under colonial rule, is highlighted and celebrated.
On the map, the colonial trade routes are complemented with contemporary migration routes, transferring the colonial history into present-day Africa. A continent that is thriving culturally and economically, and reinvents itself beyond its colonial past.
On the map, the landmass is not divided into countries or states, denying the borders artificially created during the scramble for Africa.
The World Reimagined celebrates a modern, united Africa, that is reclaiming its strong and stable roots and gains influence and power in a globalised world.
Dorothy Masuka, Emmanuel Jal, Hugh Masekela, Ali Farka Touré, Cesária Évora, Letta Mbulu, Oumou Sangaré, Thandi Klaasen, Fela Kuti, Titica
Francisca Nneka Okeke, Gebisa Ejeta, Kelvin Doe, Oyèrónkẹ́ Oyèwùmí, Kitaw Ejigu,
Flora Nwapa, Florence Onyebuchi Emecheta, Cyprian Ekwensi, Dambudzo Marechera , Omolara Ogundipe, Clémentine Faik Nzuji
El Anatsui, Emo de Medeiros, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, George Osodi, Okwui Enwezor, Ghada Amer, Ibrahim El-Salahi, Lakin Ogunbanwo, Rotimi Fani-Kayode
Edi Gathegi, Florence Kasumba, John Kani, Kemi Adetiba, Dani Kouyaté, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Ousmane Sembène
Eddie Kadi, Trevor Noah
Henry Odera Oruka, Achille Mbembe, V. Y. Mudimbe, Sophie Oluwole
Gayani lives in Birmingham and is an artist, vegan chef and ethical floral designer originally from Sri Lanka who has lived in the UK for 27 years. Her work is based on nature, especially plants and flowers. She has been a Wild in Art artist since 2017. She has been glass painting for 26 years and is preparing to have an exhibition to celebrate 4,000 pieces of glass art that are from her collection. She uses art as therapy to help others (and herself) to overcome grief and improve mental health.
Much ancient knowledge about the healthgiving and healing power of plants comes from Africa. This knowledge was passed on from generation to generation, from continent to continent, to enable people to heal, survive and even connect with the sacred. The history of these plants that are now known and grown throughout the world is entwined with the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans.
If the enslaved became ill in the horrendous conditions on the ships that transported them from Africa to the Americas, they would not receive medical treatment and risked being abandoned to the sea – thrown overboard – even before they died. Knowing this, the enslaved learned to look after their health by hiding medicinal leaves and seeds in their clothes or hair, to which that they could add to water or chew on to get better on the voyage.
My globe shows many of these plants and flowers. Coca from the kola nut – which acted as a sedative; cannabis sticks and leaves which were bitten or chewed when ill, and the aloe vera leaf which could be bitten to satiate feelings of hunger when there was no food.
Ocra and bitter melon all come from Africa and are still today used as herbal medicines worldwide. The eggplant – also originally from Africa – has medicinal properties and is now grown all over the world in hybrid species. The peacock flower is actually very tiny, but its impact in the Caribbean is very large – it is still drunk regularly to maintain and improve health – so it is shown much enlarged on my globe. Pods from the cotton bushes, one of the most profitable crops produced by enslaved labour in America, are also included – raw cotton was exported to be processed in Britain and then sold all over the world.
The background of the globe is sugar cane; not native to Africa but grown in the Caribbean with enslaved labour and this is symbolised by the chains amongst the plants.
In modern societies, our access to medicine is often restricted by corporate monopolies – we have lost touch with these natural and ancient healing powers. The image of Justicea in the centre of the globe holding a very unbalanced scale and without a sword – her power has been taken away – represents this.
The gold paint on top of the globe represents the natural resources of Africa’s gold and botanical treasures before it was plundered.
I have painted this globe in a naïve, childlike style as a tribute to my parents, both of whom I lost very recently: my mother was a primary school teacher and I often drew artwork for her classes, and my father was an established artists and sculptor.
Richard Mark Rawlins was born in 1967 in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago. He currently lives and works in Hastings in the UK. A graduate of the Royal College of Art’s print programme (2019), Rawlins’ research takes a transnational approach to the “pop-cultural” poetics and politics of life in the Caribbean, the contested and resultant histories/realities of colonialism and its transpontine consequence, black identity and diaspora politics.
The work can be described as a mind map of different complex historical trajectories, with reflections in the present and the contemporary, as well as personal musings – I am after all a member of a diaspora of a diaspora of a diaspora – and ongoing ruminations about the history and repercussions of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans.
The work takes a graphic novel form, not across pages but rather on a globe where the latitudinal and longitudinal lines demarcate panels of graphics and micro-essays (sometimes non-sequitur in nature) in order to provoke the viewer to arrive at their own new and personal narratives and questions. In the final analysis, it is my desire for the work to feel like a call and response, a gentle but open discussion, and a series of critical but mindful provocations.
Nadia Akingbule is an illustrator from London, working predominantly with themes relating to minority representation and activism. Alongside colourful editorial illustration, she specialises in portraiture, often referencing her experience as a person of dual heritage in her practice. Nadia’s work is diverse in content and context, spanning across workshops, branding and publication design, as well as editorial, commercial and book illustration.
With 50 plus years as a self taught professional artist Bandele has been able to make impressive work in quite a few practices in the arts. Notable creative endeavours have been the 21ft batik mural for Bermuda I.U., his first solo show at Trinidad Hilton that bought together the islands top artist and clothing designers. Immigrating to the UK in 1988 he opened his batik painting exhibition at the Commonwealth Institute in London, while that was happening another collection of work was being prepared for a commissioned uk tour for Amnesty International addressing the apartheid situation in South Africa, this exhibition opened at the prestigious Kings College Chapel Cambridge. Over the years he has been involved in numerous creative ventures in Bristol and can boast that he has been involved with every major institution in the city over the years. Presently he is completing a body of over 100 pieces of work including textile, oil paintings, photography, a 10ft mahogany sculpture completed during his lockdown in Trinidad, installations and film for a world tour.
Millions of years ago a comet collided with a land now called Haiti, scattering tons of Iridium that now sells at $6,000 per troy ounce (19/6/22). This now makes the people of the island the poorest rich people on the planet.
Five hundred years ago a white bolt slammed into the African continent scattering the people in every direction……now on the very day of Abolition 200, in 2006, words of the Ancestors are received through their Messenger, as dyes and paint explode onto cheap calico to open minds and to burn into all the half truth and lies as the words of the Ancestors cause the the white bolt to implode……these are the words of the Ancestors.
Amy is a Fine Artist specialising in painting and drawing, with a PhD from Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. Her research is central to her continuing painting practice through the interpretation of Spectromorphology within painting. Amy’s PhD provided a redefined understanding of painting with an emphasis on applied energy, gesture and movement, concentrating on the definition of morphology as shaping through time. Her artwork involves large-scale oil paintings and she has completed projects for Wild in Art, including ‘Go Wild Gorillas’ in Jersey, 3 elephants for the ‘Big Trunk Trail’ in Luton, ‘Worcester Big Parade’, ‘A Dog’s Trail’ in Cardiff, ‘Go Go Discover’ in Norwich, 2 sculptures for ‘The Big Hoot’ in Ipswich, ‘A Big Splash’ in the Isle of Man, ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ in Knowsley, ‘Hares of Hampshire’ and ‘Snowdogs Support Life, Kirklees’.
This globe design is painted to appear as though it is entirely made of complex rock formations. It represents the lasting legacy of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans, with its chasms, cracks and crevices. These imperfections represent the scarring damage not just on the surface, but much deeper and often hidden.
This globe opens up conversation around the deep-rooted damage, negative consequences and entrenched prejudices present today both in the UK and across the world. These metaphorical cracks have been gradually altered or refilled, but the results are rarely permanent. They remain fragile. Cracks can be sealed but vestiges remain, creating weakness for a future of harmony and balance. There is unease that is so deeply embedded within this discussion and this globe aims to encourage us all to face the uncomfortable truths of the echoes of damage in the present.
The repair of the cracks and crevices has always been and will always be possible through the work of humanity, knowledge, education and empathy and – most importantly – the role of the younger generation in voicing the argument and working together to repair the damage.
The rock should always exist and never be totally smooth, as without the vestiges of damage the celebration of our future holds far less poignancy. It is the gradual alteration of the surface that will define our successes and our aim to see the world reimagined.
There is no quick fix, but as long as discussions are open, little steps can be taken and progress made. This is our shared history, not just black history, but it is an historical trauma with black lives at the centre and it is this trauma that is represented in my globe. It is a trauma that must be remembered, severed and celebrated in equal measure. Not an easy task.
Larry Amponsah (b. 1989, Accra-Ghana) is a multimedia artist whose practice investigates traditional modes of image-making whilst employing unconventional strategies of production to look at the contemporary politics of imagery. Through the language of painting, Amponsah creates collages made of archival images, objects, and stories from various cultures in order to negotiate systems of power and create new ways of transcending boundaries.
Amponsah transforms, prints and cuts into archival images, which he assembles in collages that are further worked upon using mechanical processes and his honed skills as a trained painter. In this succession of strategic moves about image-making techniques, dynamic compositions emerge, as well as compelling narratives or portraits that reference his own African upbringing within a greater global narrative.
Larry Amponsah is an Associate Lecturer at the Camberwell College of Art – UAL and received his MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art, London (2018) after studying at Jiangsu University China (2016) and at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi in Ghana (2015). Larry was a Trustee of The Kuenyehia Art Trust in Ghana, got shortlisted for the 2019 Dentons Art Prize and won the Be Smart About Art Award in 2019.
Recent solo exhibitions include: ‘Genesis, The Plan & The Promise’, The Breeder Gallery, Athens (2022); ‘When A Stone Cracks, We Don’t Stitch’, 50 Golborne, London (2019); ‘The Open City of Many Gods’ Billboard, Bloc Projects, Sheffield (2019) and ‘Imaginary Direction of Time’, The Fine Art Gallery, CSU-Pueblo Hoag Hall, Colorado (2018).
Recent group exhibitions include: ‘DEAR’, Dyson Gallery, RCA Battersea, London (2019); ‘DAMNED IF I DO… DAMNED IF I DON’T’ for Open Space: Of Hosts & Guests, Pushkin House, London (2019); ‘FBA Futures Exhibition’, Mall Galleries, London (2019); ‘SURGE’, East Wing Biennial 13, Courtauld Institute of Art, London (2018); ‘YOUNG GUNS’, Sulger-Buel Lovell Gallery, London (2018); ‘Open House CCA’, Delfina Foundation, London (2017); ‘What is your local word for ‘Smile’?’, ArtXanady’s Pop-up Gallery, Labone, Ghana (2016); and ‘The Gown Must Go To Town’, Museum of Science and Technology, Accra (2015), amongst others.
The fight for freedom, equality and justice is the longest, most demanding, draining and dangerous of global wars to have ever been fought, and yet again, the most necessary battle for Black peoples. We can only afford to advance (for we have a lot at stake) and therefore to retreat or surrender is out of the question, for there is a cause! Sometimes, due to the brutal injustices we continue to experience as a people, we tend to forget or undermine the tremendous progress we have achieved as a minority group subjected to centuries of suppression.
Hold The Line is a work made to remind every descendant of the enslaved, the suppressed, the colonised and our allies of the deadly battles we have fought in this war, how long it has taken for us to get here – and the need to defend what we have attained so far. It also clarifies our responsibility to push for the best for the following generations by uniting more than ever today, in order to pave more ways for further progress. It also encourages openness, peace and love; keeping our hope for a utopian future alive.
A future in which difference is considered the key ingredient which holds and strengthens us together, rather than a tool for division. There’s no going back – we must take our place and own the space. We must tilt the ground and build things up. For out of the knowledge of holding a stake in a country, hope emerges. And with hope, we can build a better future that is diverse and inclusive, fair and just for everyone.
I believe the fight for racial harmony and equality is the one fight every person alive today must be concerned with, as we will truly do well as a people when every one of us does well. Therefore let’s not stop hoping for that utopian world we imagined from the start – our lives depend on it and no matter what happens we must always remember to hold the line!
Gail has been a self-employed artist for around 10 years, but has enjoyed various aspects of art for most of her life. The bulk of her workload is split between painting for several galleries, and commissions which have been wide and varied in theme from album cover art to commercial illustration. She has had paintings commissioned from clients in the USA, Australia and New Zealand as well as the UK. A great deal of her work is narrative in style, as she believes art should be more than just media on a support – there are always visual stories to tell.
My design came into being during the course of my studies, when I became aware of the extent to which institutional racism persists in the UK, and more specifically, its prevalence within the criminal justice system. I wanted the globe to depict the weight of racial injustice by creating a heavy earth and stone base on which to build a narrative.
Circling this barren foundation, the chains contribute to the weight of oppression, and represent continued restriction, restraint and subjugation. The roots serve two purposes, depicting both cultural roots and heritage, but also deep-rooted racism, branching through the earth to hold the chains in place. While the origins of the design idea came from my bewilderment that discrimination continues to occur in the twenty-first century, I did not want my design to be entirely dispiriting and bleak.
By illuminating entrenched racial injustice – represented by the brightness shining through cracked earth – awareness will increase and new ground will be broken.
Sophie Mowat is the founder of Mowat&daughter – a design house specialising in woven and printed textiles and surfaces for fashion and lifestyle. Her designs are shaped by her dual heritage, blending the vibrant colours of Barbados with the flora and fauna of the British countryside. She also draws on the patterns and textures she see in daily life; on travels to different countries and visits to exhibitions. Later Sophie found a love of print and pattern design while working for suppliers for leading fashion brands and retailers. After becoming a mother in 2018 and later going freelance in 2020, she developed her own handwriting and design style. Sophie is particularly inspired by culture, history, nature and travel. She believes textile design has strong links to memory and can spark positive recall, as often the designs connect people and places we think of fondly. She designs with enthusiasm, inspiration and innovation in a world of throwaway culture, fast fashion and monotonous repetition.
My globe features plants that were once transported and cultivated by enslaved people. Included are flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables, many of which are still grown, utilised and eaten today. Some are familiar to descendants of enslaved people, others we all may know and use without being aware of their origin. I wanted to juxtapose the idea of the beauty of nature with how it was used to exploit people.
Although now many of us have access to and enjoy the end products of these plants, for example cocoa, coffee, cotton, we may not recognise the original plants, and I wanted to explore and highlight what our enslaved ancestors would have seen when growing them. Crops such as these owe their establishment to the horticultural knowledge and practices of enslaved Africans. Others flourished due to being transported or expertly nurtured by them, often having to adapt their knowledge to wherever they were forced to migrate. They rarely, if ever, are or were recognised or compensated for their work.
The theme of my globe is essentially Survival. Whether by force – cultivated on plantations profiting the enslavers or as findings to be exploited and appropriated by scientists; by necessity – to supplement what deliberately poor diet they were provided, or to treat illness or health conditions; or by choice – in what little time and with the limited resources they had, evoking a sense of their original home or cultural identity in furniture, craft or a taste of home. Whatever the end purpose, they grew these plants to survive.
Now, it’s down to us; the choices we are afforded due to the struggles of our Black ancestors, their legacy has echoes in the present. We can decide to use natural resources ethically and responsibly. Therefore, as descendants, will we use natures bounty for evil or for good?
Joshua describes his practice as visual narration. He aims to tell a story through his work and bring the audience into a different experience, whether through portraiture, landscape painting or installation. Through the work he hopes to convey different emotions and sensations and create an open platform for personal exploration and discussion. His current work focuses on challenging perceptions of racial and cultural identity. Issues of racism and stereotyping have permeated Western art and remain present in contemporary media and society. Growing up in in England has given Joshua a Western perspective /training in art and painting, yet his practice has also been significantly informed by Ghanaian culture alongside black artists and voices.
This globe design is based around a body of work called Ancestral Foundations. This project looked to explore the impact that African ancestry plays on our sense of identity, especially for those who have grown up in Western countries with histories of colonialism and racial prejudice.
This work was exhibited as a series of audio conversations accompanied by dual portraits intended as a means of gaining a truer reflection of each individual and the backgrounds that have influenced their lives. Every figure in this globe design has some connection with Wales, whether they have grown up around Wales or have moved in later life.
By scanning the QR codes you can hear the sitters share a range of experiences; from those who have a strong connection to their roots to those whose connection has been broken or is unknown as a result of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans. Many recall their personal experiences of connecting and reconnecting to their ancestry and their experiences of growing up and living in Wales.
Surrounding each portrait on the globe are photos from the archives and family albums of those I spoke with. Hence each figure is submerged in their personal memories and family histories.
Drawing inspiration from intimate conversations with his subjects, Curtis Holder (b. 1968) explores the complexities of human emotions and how we connect with and interpret the feelings of each other through sensitive artistic expression.
Holder’s large-scale, multi-layered coloured pencil portraits are dynamically tender, revealing something of the inner life of his sitters. He aims to evoke an individual’s unspoken truth, which he compels the viewer to search for, and in doing so, reflect upon their own perceptions.
Holder’s portraits emerge in dynamic, complex strokes, capturing a sense of his subjects’ form, movement and emotional intent. Preliminary pencil marks remain as part of his energetic process of capturing fleeting gestures and emotions with sensitivity and a raw honesty. Stronger, spontaneous lines are used to anchor the subject in a final, bold depiction.
In 2020 Holder won Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year. His winner’s commission, a portrait of world-renowned ballet dancer, Carlos Acosta, is now part of the permanent collection at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, UK.
Echoes Talk Back is an evolution of my current series of large multilayered coloured pencil portraits titled ‘The Talk’ in which I distil complex conversations with my sitters about our shared experiences as Black men in today’s society.
The globe features portraits of Black men from different generations. The men are in conversation with each other and themselves. Each portrait shows the passage and echoes of time with the overlay of fractured lines. The changing body language and expression of each sitter captures their response to our intimate exchange. How do we as Black men fit into this society we call home? How do we reconcile the idea of a home as a safe haven with the reality of a system that systematically fails us and our families? How do we begin healing from the trauma and chaos these febrile, wayward pencil lines represent?
A starting point is the unity and connection that is possible through the dialogue we have with ourselves, each other and the wider community represented here by the infinity of the sphere.
Gabriel’s artwork combines the twin disciplines of printmaking and painting, primarily in oil on paper. Through his singular technique, Choto seeks new pathways into the painted image by taking cues from the surface quality produced by the printmaking process.
His evolving, experimental practice involves layering painted areas of naturalism over the delicate compositional architecture of etching, resulting in paintings where physical presence and absence imply a metaphoric liminal state.
Sensitive and intimate, these images include close family members, depicting quiet moments of contemplation or affectionate domestic scenes taken from old photographs, progressing into self portraits where through constructed situations the artist examines his own identity.
Choto’s intimate paintings draw on themes of home, pride, identity and diaspora.
In this painting I reference the Brookes diagram which showed how enslaved Africans were positioned on ships from West Africa to the Americas and Caribbean.
People were positioned in a cramped order, way over safe capacities, and head to head. I decided to depict two children who are head to head and holding hands. They are trying to comfort each other in this frightening experience of transatlantic travel.
I’m interested in how this relates to the African diaspora in Britain today. I imagine Echoes in the Present to be the divisive nature of colonial borders which continue to be promoted amongst Black people.
However, in resistance, we are united – like the two children in my piece. We can choose to hold onto each other and be one others’ support as we move towards racial justice together.
Zita is an award-winning, trade union, community & human rights campaigner and activist, an author, visual artist, curator, poet, vocalist and writer. Zita is the Co-Founder and National Chair of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK, established in 2010 and campaigning against the disproportionate impact of cuts and austerity on black and minority ethnic workers, service users and communities and on the wider racism and injustice they & other deprived communities face. Zita campaigns against discrimination in the arts and culture sector. She is a trustee of the charity ACTSA (successor to the Anti-Apartheid Movement) and was elected to the ACTSA Council for over a decade and co-curated tours of the Mandela Centenary exhibition at the South Bank Centre.
My globe reflects on and documents my life and my work as an artist, writer, campaigner and activist with Trinidadian heritage and African roots, and the injustices our communities face today. It documents the struggle for racial justice through a visual diary.
My globe is interwoven with the stories of migration to the UK – from the Windrush generation to refugees fleeing climate change; the legacies of enslavement and colonialism; the injustices and inhumane treatments that they have faced – and continue to face; and the resistance of black communities in challenging the racism and injustice we face today in our quest for freedom, equity and peace. I created the original design for the globe during the pandemic as a way of documenting events as they happened and as an act of self-care.
I believe art is healing and has the ability to convey messages on issues about which I am passionate – equality, freedom, justice, workers’ rights and human rights – to audiences we might not otherwise reach. I believe our struggles are connected, that collective action is crucial, and that we all have the ability to be the inspiration we seek.
The legacies of the enslavement of African people and colonialism, and the structural/systemic racism we face today are global issues, so it is apt that in responding to those issues as part of The World Reimagined, that our creations are in the form of globes. It is an honour to be part of The World Reimagined and part of a trail which tells our story collectively and imagines a better future. As well as striving for race equality for future generations, we deserve equality in our lifetime.
Still we strive.
My work is a fusion of painting and textile art, narrative and politics. I like to paint with stitch, draw with my sewing machine and weave my painted canvases with ethnically related textiles. Current affairs, people and politics are my inspiration. I work either in oils or acrylics on canvas or stitch and dyes on silks. The subject matter dictates the medium. My techniques are experimental and ever evolving. Line, movement and narrative content are important elements in my work that takes the form of kimono, wall hangings, soft sculptures and paintings.
Toussaint Louverture, the subject of my globe, was truly inspirational. Toussaint fought to end slavery in Hispaniola and make men of all colours equal. He was the leader of the first and only successful uprising of Black enslaved people and was idolised by his many followers.
Born into slavery in San-Domingue (present day Haiti) in 1743, he rose to become Governor General of Hispaniola. Through his intelligent leadership, personal charisma and absolute determination, and with his loyal band of ‘sans-culottes’ rebel soldiers, he outwitted the well-equipped armies of Spain, Britain and Napoleonic France; creating the first free independent state of Haiti. Toussaint was able to negotiate extremely favourable trade terms with America for San-Domingue because they felt so threatened by the rebellion, fearing the successful uprising might encourage similar events in its own enslaved populations.
My globe tells the story of Haiti’s fight for freedom under Toussaint’s selfless leadership, and his generosity of spirit in contrast with the greed and acquisitiveness of those world powers who sought to profit from the triangular trade in people and commodities. With it, I hope to celebrate the remarkable achievements of this man and bring knowledge of him to a wider British audience. I have chosen to work in a flat graphic and silhouette style because Toussaint’s heroic acts of ‘derring do’ and legendary achievements remind me of comic strip superheroes. I have reflected the triangular trade in the quasi African wax cloth designs that pattern the continents.
Atop the globe is an Adinkra symbol design based on ‘sankofa’, which teaches the wisdom of learning from the past in order to move forward.
Adam Grose specialises in drawing, painting and printmaking. He achieved a BA (Hons) Fine Art in Southampton and qualified to teach in 1997, teaching A Level, OLASS and SEND.
He deepened his practice through studying for an MA in Fine Art Contemporary Practice at Falmouth University, which lead to residencies at the Cyprus College of Art run by Stass Paraskos (2013) and at the Malaca Instituto in Malaga (2014). These opportunities afforded time to research and explore the effect of cultural influences upon a host nation, investigating the dichotomy of a country via the host and the invasive culture, including the influence and ramifications of these forms of colonialism.
Since 2011 Grose has focussed upon the human condition and lost generations, layering to obscure, destroy, hide, cover, manipulate, strip and wash away images and materials, using these forms of making to symbolise the passage of time and the way history affects memory and knowledge in contemporary society. He forms images that appear to be in transition from one state to another, like phantoms or echoes of the past haunting the present.
Many ghosts from the past occupy our public spaces. Their names adorn buildings, streets, sculptures and plaques. These legacies of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans haunt our towns and cities, affecting many people who walk past them everyday. Legacy seeks to bring to light the forgotten or little known echoes of the past.
Delving into history and archives, this globe seeks to highlight generations who have become lost to time and history. African cultures, indigenous cultures, enslaved people, abolitionists, suffragettes, writers and more who fought for the right to be seen and heard. The Dymaxion Fuller map, invented by Buckminster Fuller, represents a world that has less continent distortion. Other map projections like the Mercator and the Gall–Peters projection creates a distorted view of the world. The distortions on this globe are the people found at the top and bottom of the globe, highlighting how distorted our world can become.
The removal of the north-up /south-down presentation, created by European empires, removes particular narratives that can affect how people view the world through unconscious cultural bias. To improve how we view the world, we must be attentive about how we map reality. We must look with fresh eyes, be cognisant of unconscious bias, and observe our ways of seeing.
Kwaku Anokye is promising young artist from Ghana and Dominica. He was born in Hong Kong and has lived in Tokyo, London and Ghana. Working primarily with acrylic, spray and oil paint; Kwaku has also worked digitally and in fashion.
Despite his classical and figurative background in portraiture and live drawing; Kwaku’s work has become more abstract, drawing from his diverse upbringing to inform his artistic style. He combines elements of traditional African art and hip-hop culture to graffiti and Japanese Manga, using simplistic figures and bold colours to explore his past experiences.
Through his art, Kwaku strives to understand, and reconcile the different thoughts, episodes and emotions which continue to define him as a person and as an artist; creating complex, abstract compositions to highlight how perceived dichotomies within the human experience can work together in harmony.
This sentiment is best illustrated by the two Adinkra symbols which act as his signature, and appear on his globe: Nkonsonkonson (a chain link), a symbol representative of the strength which results from unity; and Ese ne tekrema, a proverb explaining that like teeth and tongue within the mouth, elements that coexist may have conflict, but must work together for the entity to thrive.
This globe looks to recognise how even when faced with adversity, cooperation and sacrifice within the Black community has led to the conquering of obstacles and barriers throughout history. From our darkest times in slavery and colonialism, to problems faced today, people of African descent have somehow managed to thrive, excel and ascend into a reimagined future.
My design focuses on themes of sacrifice and cooperation to rise and excel through adversity. The kneeling figures holding up the path above represent those who have sacrificed so much to overcome obstacles in their journey; laying a firm foundation from which their descendants can build on and continue to climb higher.
Despite this narrative starting in darkness, the figures are adorned with golden halos to show that this is not the beginning of our story – in fact the destination at the top of the globe is one they have been to before. Whilst each step signifies a new generation, the figures are shown helping each other ascend from the darkness and towards a brighter future.
Bryony Benge-Abbott is a British Trinidadian artist working in painting, wild drawing walks, textiles, installation and street art. Combining visual arts with a 13 year background producing science and social history exhibitions, most recently establishing and leading the exhibitions programme at the UK’s largest lab, The Francis Crick Institute, Bryony works interdisciplinarily to shine a light on narratives about our relationship to the natural world that are under-told or overlooked. Much of her public art involves collaborating with scientists and the public to explore nature connectedness. In 2019 her commitment to public engagement through street art was acknowledged by the Mayor of London, who highlighted Bryony as a ‘hidden credit to the city’ as part of the International Women’s Day celebrations. In the studio, her artist research is interested in ways to transform the way in which we relate to nature, considering alternative perspectives and potential for change that lie in the entangled space where art, science and spirituality meet.
Tributaries Of Knowledge celebrates the legacy of Kenyan environmental activist Wangari Maathai and the seeds she planted during a remarkable lifetime.
Maathai was tenacious and a pioneer. She thought globally and acted locally, leading the fight against environmental degradation in Kenya with an activism that was intersectional; she understood environmental justice to be intrinsically tied to social justice, particularly women’s rights, many years before others in the environmental movement saw the connection. She also understood that sustainable development needed to embrace democracy, culture and religion if it were to be successfully embedded into the fabric of society.
In 1977, in response to rivers and streams drying up affecting food supplies in rural areas, she founded the grassroots organisation the Green Belt Movement, supporting women to work together to grow seedlings and plant trees to bind the soil, store rainwater, provide food and firewood. Today, the movement has planted some 51 million trees in Kenya. Wangari Maathai also worked tirelessly to demand greater democratic space and more accountability of the government in Kenya, which resulted in periods of imprisonment throughout her life. Still, she did not give up. She was tenacious.
In 2004, Wangari Maathai became the first African woman and environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
I came across her work in 2011. Just days after I first landed in Africa for a placement at National Museums Kenya, news broke that Maathai had passed away. An incredible national and international outpouring of grief and remembrance followed for days, if not weeks. It was an intense and inspiring way to become acquainted with her work.
The experience sparked for me the question of how I could contribute to positive, constructive, and inclusive responses to the environmental crisis. Her story made me want to join the dots that those in power could not or would not acknowledge and to work interdisciplinarity to hold space for intersectional conversations about our relationship to nature within the public realm. She showed me that one’s efforts need not be so big that they are unimaginable. It can be a simple as planting a tree.
Tributaries of Knowledge references Wangari Maathai’s memoir, in which she recounts growing up near an old fig tree considered sacred by her community. As a child she found the tree and the spring that rose from its roots enchanting. As an adult she understood that her community’s reverence for the tree meant that it provided them with many levels of protection and sustenance.
In designing this globe, I wanted to depict Maathai’s description of her journey to founding the Green Belt Movement as being nourished and informed by many tributaries of knowledge, starting with that first fig tree. While painting, I reflected on how her legacy has shaped the environmental movement in Kenya and beyond, and what seeds she has planted that are only just germinating now, perhaps through unexpected encounters such as my own.
Vashti Harrison is a #1 New York Times-bestselling author-illustrator of children’s books. She has a background in filmmaking and a love for storytelling. She is the author and illustrator of the best-selling middle grade books Little Leaders, Little Dreamers, Little Legends, and the illustrator of the best-selling picture books Hair Love by Matthew Cherry and Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o, which received a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. Vashti is also a two-time recipient of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Children. Originally from Onley, Virginia, she now lives in Brooklyn, NY.
“We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain, free within ourselves.” In this his essay The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain, American writer and poet Langston Hughes makes the case for the celebrating blackness.
He describes “the mountain” as the pressure to assimilate into white culture and American standardization as something we must overcome to fully be free. His final line evokes a hopefulness for his fellow artists but it rings true for all of us.
During the Harlem Renaissance many American writers, thinkers, and artists actively sought out the ancestry from which they had been severed as a result of the transatlantic slave trade, the histories that had been erased, the artistry that had been lost. The theme “and still we rise” recognizes those who resisted, rose above and succeeded. Many of the artists of this period fit that category as the act of being an artist itself is an act of resistance – especially considering the times marked by Jim Crow, World War, Great Migration and Great Depression. Still though we can look to the art, the motifs and the themes for hope. Hope for ourselves and hope for our future.
I look to these artists for guidance to envision a world where young people can rise. On the globe we can see a futuristic city on the horizon, from the distance children walk, run and play, returning to an ancestral land. At the top they gaze at the stars, free. Sprinkled throughout are references to those who rose, Aaron Douglas, Augusta Savage, Langston Hughes, and a sankofa bird reminding us we take from the past what is good and bring it into the present to make a better future. together.
Hamed Maiye is an interdisciplinary artist flitting between painting, drawing and set design. When not building his colourful installations, the London-based artist centres his stark and monochromatic works on the narratives found in his dreams.
Joanna combines painting with variations on the traditional printing techniques of etching and takuhon, digital printing and photography. She incorporates various mediums including oil paint, etching ink, wax and pastel, to create visually striking and ambiguous images which confront the complex relationship between human activity and the natural world.
For my globe, continents and oceans are the intricate scaled patterns on a butterfly wing. Butterflies have many meanings. A symbol of migration, freedom, the returning souls of the dead. Their metamorphosis has been seen as a metaphor for puberty, transformation and societal change. I have chosen one of the world’s most common butterflies; the painted lady (Vanessa Cardiu), because they are found in most parts of the world, and travel vast distances at high altitude in cyclical migratory patterns, travelling further than any other species of butterfly; an annual distance of 12,000km, which is equivalent to crossing the Sahara Desert twice. Butterflies have inspired artists and scientists the world over.
But at the turn of the eighteenth century the British naturalist, James Petiver, employed individuals and used the infrastructures of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans and plantation slavery to gather thousands samples of butterflies and other natural specimens, and have them sent back to him in London. His collection became the beginnings of the British Museum and Natural History Museum collections. Petiver was only one of many naturalists and scientists who took advantage of the botanical, medical and scientific knowledge of West African people.
And yet this legacy has still not been fully acknowledged.
The scientific hierarchy created by colonialism continues still and decolonising science and the arts is urgent; during Damien Hirst’s 2012 Tate installation, ‘In and Out of Love’, 2012, 9000 butterflies died. And yet as a species and symbol they defy the impulse to conquer, capture and profit, and remain inhabitants of the world, belonging and prized everywhere.
My globe shows south at the top, challenging the accepted perspective of north-orientated maps used by colonialists to explore and navigate using compasses. With this I hope to challenge this accepted hierarchy. I have titled my globe The Butterfly Effect after the scientific theory which has proven that a relatively small act or event, like this transformative project, can ultimately have an important impact.
Winston Branch is a British artist originally from Saint Lucia, the sovereign island in the Caribbean Sea. He still has a home there, while maintaining a studio in California.
For me, abstraction is cutting at the edge of the bone of the human experience as the faculty of the imagination is the highest order of the manifestation of one’s soul. Racism puts you in a box and therefore you can’t see what is possible. Because you can’t see what is possible you begin to accept what is given to you. It kills your imagination.
As an abstract painter, I see the world through the prism of colour, which for me is a universal language that conveys feeling, thereby evoking a consciousness of emotion. My globe expresses that freedom of expression and movement through bright colours and my technique of application.
As a figurative painter, Afro-Caribbean and British citizen at birth, I assess ethnic minority identities in the western world by creating iconic narratives through my portraiture.
Living in London has taught me to use ethnic isolation as a platform of distinction rather than a victim collective, and to understand other artists who have felt non-British because of their ethnicity. Painting is the bridge that transforms my thoughts into visual action against misrepresentation. Each painting has a voice of its own; they ask questions that must be answered.
Art history is a critical subject for me, because not long ago I realised that ethnic minority artists find themselves underrepresented in historical portraiture. Before a painting of mine reaches its finished form, it requires investigation into my model, and their stance in society.
The women I paint are artists, business owners and intellectuals sharing their stories by inserting themselves into the narrative of European art history. I want Europe’s diverse history to create a harmony between ethnic minorities and majorities in the gallery space, with the common denominator of healthy nationalism.
Dear Archives is a globe installation which gathers my mental montage on unpopular but renown historical figures. Growing up, I vividly remember Roots, Twelve Years A Slave and The Color Purple being audacious portrayals of the horrors of African slavery or racial injustice. It felt like either we don’t go far back enough, or we don’t see history holistically.
Still We Rise is a theme that honours victors, not victims. By this, I mean African, Black westerners who were met with prejudice and used the opportunity to overcome, and not remain victims, by being proactive not reactive.
James Forten innovated the original sail, owning a sail loft business worth millions circa 1800. He was friends with Paul Cuffee, a sea captain who built the first racially integrated school in Massachusetts.
Septimius Severus, an African Roman Emperor came to Britain in the second century to strengthen Hadrian’s wall.
Black Aristocratic Art is a blog I created to honour the side of art history which is often overlooked, or simply unknown. It is important for Black communities in the West to acknowledge African individuals who pioneered in their spheres of influence.
Hannaa Hamdache is an artist and curator of mixed English and Algerian heritage. Based in Nottingham, UK, she holds a BA (Hons) in Fine Art and Art History from Kingston University London and an MLitt in Curatorial Practice (Contemporary Art) from the Glasgow School of Art. She works to make the arts open for all through the use of humour and education. Her practice explores the idea of play: playing with context, the exhibition and the everyday.
Our globe takes the power, resistance and beauty of Black people and celebrates them in a unified design. Painted onto a black background, the 54 national flowers of each African country are positioned across the equator of the globe, alongside a green, chain-inspired, vine motif. This design symbolises the ecosystem of the Black community and the important role that each member plays.
It celebrates the joy and flourishing of Black people – not just their survival. Through natural imagery, the resistance and resilience of the Black community is centred. The green, chain-inspired, vine motif is a representation of the legacy of generations before, commemorating the power of Black ancestors and celebrating their determination and persistence. It represents the continuation of progress, with green linking to nature’s strength, power and reclamation.
These inspired patterns also nod to what enslaved Africans broke away from in the fight for their freedom. Flowers have been placed around the equator of the globe, to mirror the linking of arms in protest, symbolising the unity and strength in the communal power of Black people and their allies. It highlights the contribution of Black people to society across the world and commemorates the African diaspora.
For countries where there are duplicated flowers or non-declared national flowers, a bud is used to recognise the continued work that needs to be done to combat racism, as well as marking the growth and progress that we have already seen as a society and the potential yet to come. The design of this globe has been co-created with young people from the East Midlands.
A community-focused designer, architect and founder of Lobrum London. A Sierra Leone born UK based Creative Director and Storyteller.
Felix ‘FLX’ Braun is a contemporary fine artist and muralist, who lives and works in Bristol, UK. A veteran of the first wave of British graffiti and street art, he began painting walls in Bristol in 1984, aged 15, before going on to study for a degree in Visual Communication at the University of Central England at Birmingham, from which he graduated in 1993.
After studying for a Diploma in Youth Work at City of Bristol College in 2002, he combined his arts practice and youth work as a community arts facilitator, painting murals and delivering related youth arts projects, across Bristol and the UK, then subsequently as far afield as South East Asia and East Africa.
In 2012 he co-founded the community murals collective Paintsmiths of Bristol, whose large scale works celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela or parodying the ‘special relationship’ between Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, gained global media attention; whilst their murals in schools and community settings focused on celebrating those communities in everything from aerosol and masonry paint to retro reflective road marking materials.
These days his focus is on his personal studio practice and solo mural/public art projects.
Maya Angelou’s poem – which this theme’s title paraphrases – tells of courage, hope and joy, despite the burden history puts upon the people of the African diaspora. I chose this theme, therefore, because it echoes a desire within my family to raise our children to honour and celebrate figures from a Black History which the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans is a part, but not the defining period, whilst never minimising its traumatic legacy.
It feels vital to ensure these atrocities alone do not define our children’s sense of their history, heritage and by extension, their identities; and that learning about the lives of the incredible people of African descent who overcame adversity and struggles to achieve amazing things is a powerful, joyful way to achieve this.
Whilst researching I have learnt so much about individuals seemingly hidden from ‘popular’ history – such as Nzinga Mbandi, queen of Ndongo and Matamba, or Brazilian quilombola leader Zumbi Dos Palmares – and people from the breadth of the African diaspora, who have a multitude of achievements across millennia around the globe.
My aim for my piece is to share a reimagined historical narrative in a public space that will be shared in a spirit of celebration; whilst simultaneously memorialising and paying homage to the enslaved African people who died as a consequence of the transatlantic trade – their names mostly forgotten – remembered here as a painful, haunting scar encircling the work.
Emmanuel Unaji was born in 1994 in London. He studied fashion design and completed a degree in Fine Art at Kingston School of Art, London in 2020. Dubbed by British GQ as the Nigerian Artist reinterpreting fashion illustration, Unaji’s a polymath who’s multidisciplinary practice is a wide spectrum, spanning fine and commercial artforms freely combining painting, drawing, collage and product design with adept experience in High Fashion, modelling for Brands such as Gucci, British GQ, Adidas amongst others. Emmanuel has carved out his own space, at the junction of luxury, performance and fine art, where he mechanically deconstructs select images and identities that the media offer up to us. Emmanuel is interested in engaging the viewer in a conversation, by exploring what lies beneath the surface of content that we consume. The essence of Emmanuel’s art practice navigates the socioeconomic dichotomy of creativity and business, investigating the intersection of autonomy and public persona, self and celebrity.
Parallel Empires, Ancestral Kingdoms presents the notion that mythological energy of African ancestral nobility appears to manifest in contemporary culture; avenues such as music, fashion, sport, academia, carnival and more.
Speaking to the heart and soul of nations, these successful individuals come as one, but stand as ten thousand; expanding the mind through their respective mediums and celebrating the visible integration of cultural exchange into a globalised world.
Fragmented faces signify fragments of known history collaged with multimedia hand-drawn and painted layers to interpret their subjects’ emotion and metaphysical reflection. An inverse ode to cubism highlighting a silent conversation between European masters and African sculptural aesthetics.
Rhythm and blues breathes in lines and colours; purples and blue symbolise the bruises of the past that are not visible on black skin. Illustrative leaf motifs inspired by Ankara fabric patterns and red leaves reference African griot storytelling traditions through sound.
This design pays homage to the synergy of griot storytellers, specifically African American singers; Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit, Nina Simone, and Kanye West’s Blood on the Leaves.
Serena’s work is mainly landscapes, seascapes and nature in oil and mixed media paintings on canvas. She takes inspiration from the world around her, creating works of art that reveal the wonders of nature and the environment.
Music is uplifting, an expression, an escape and it is learning. The history of black music and its contribution to British identity cannot be underestimated. Enslaved people shipped from Africa to the plantations of America and the Caribbean used traditional songs and hymns not just to raise their spirits in times of oppression and captivity, but also as warnings and even clues as to how they may escape captivity. Their masters may have taken their physical freedom but they could not take their soulful musical intelligence.
Music can educate, relax, console, inspire, heal, excite; powerful words in song teach and inform generations past, present and future. Music can free people’s minds from the everyday struggles they encounter. Songs affect the soul from the moment we are born to the day we die.
My design includes words of songs sung by the enslaved in the 1700s and 1800s. Today’s music has been inspired by the past, and passed through many generations. The circles of music represent speakers on a sound system and music coming outwards across the globe and continually diversifying; music that has its roots in folk and African song. The yellow and orange background represents the sun and hot climate of Mother Africa; and the red, the passion and outrage. The skin tone hearts reference the people of historical slavery but also those trapped in modern slavery today.
The strength and spirit of oppressed souls of history has influenced music throughout the centuries to this day. And even today, music helps those who are still not free to find inspiration and to fight for a better future.
Kimathi Donkor’s art re-imagines mythic, legendary, historical and everyday encounters across Africa and its global Diasporas, principally in painting and drawing. Prominent exhibitions include War Inna Babylon at the ICA, London 2021, the Diaspora Pavilion (57th Venice Biennale, 2017) and the 29th São Paulo Biennial (Brazil, 2010). His awards, residencies and commissions include the 2011 Derek Hill Painting Scholarship for The British School at Rome.
For most Black people from Africa and the diaspora, a long strand of natural hair forms a helix – like the curved path of a spiral stairway. Yet this helix of hair also can evoke those profound structures which shape the patterns of life. At the microscopic scale is the double helix of DNA — two molecular strands entwined around one another like lovers. But, on a cosmic scale, the helix could also represent the world’s path through space. Whilst Earth’s orbit of the sun is a slight ellipse, the sun itself revolves around the galaxy, which means that the real path of our planet is not a flat ellipse at all.
Relative to the universe, Earth dances a gloriously curly, kinky helix – indeed, a gargantuan fractal set of ‘meta-helices’ as galactic clusters fall into one another through the twinkling blackness. Which brings us back to hair. Having observed the twisting paths of constellations and polymers, could we consider our hair as a metaphor for our long – often torturous – historical journeys that might seem to go around in circles, but which in truth perform an open-ended, infinitely extended looping motion towards a destination about which we know precious little? Could the helix of Black hair represent an odyssey that can never, will never – must never – return and recirculate through the ‘same places’, such as the evil auction block or whipping post.
Finally, it is said that all the infinitesimal subatomic particles which constitute our reality can be described by what physicists and mathematicians call ‘string theory’. And how are we to imagine those hypothetical strings of energy? Never at rest, flat, straight, or dead. But, constantly in a flux of oscillating vibration through multiple incomprehensible dimensions. Curvaceous, flickering, helices. The whirled, reimagined through the painting of Black hair.
Dreph is a visual artist working across a wide range of media. With a focus on portraiture and painting the human figure, Dreph’s subjects are everyday people, friends, family or those he meets whilst painting in the streets. With exploration of colour and an attention to sartorial detail, he uses his work to tell his subjects stories. He is inspired as much by 80s British sci-fi comics and New York subway art as he is the old masters. Dreph is passionate about the cultural and creative exchange that can be shared whilst travelling and this has profoundly informed his practice. After 3 decades of street based painting, Dreph’s work can be found in Asia, Africa, the UAE, Central, South and North America and throughout Europe. Dreph is an Illustration lecturer at Portsmouth University.
My globe design is a celebration of the style and dress of Black people in Britain over the last half century; since the Windrush Generation, one of the first large groups of post-war Caribbean migrants to the UK in the 1950s. It is a visual snapshot depicting six cultural turning points over this period; Calypso, Reggae, Hip Hop, Dancehall, Jungle and Grime. These musical genres and their respective dress codes reflected the social and political ideals of the day.
A broad range of expression included our desire to be seen in a hostile environment, Black consciousness or symbols of wealth and status. Despite not always receiving the reverence it deserved and dismissed in recent times as materialistic or frivolous, Black British music and style continues to permeate mainstream British culture at the highest levels. Personal style is a reflection of lifestyle.
Our style is a nuanced expression of identity that draws from the melting pot of rich British and diasporic influences. As our styles continue to evolve, what is constant is our desire to express pride, strength and a commitment to making something out of nothing.
Carol is a Dominican artist whose work explores connection to landscape, place and the entangled nature of botanical history and related cultural heritage. Carol has a diverse portfolio career which began as an Interior, Exhibition and Spatial Designer. She designed promotional stands and backdrops for countries represented at travel and tourism shows such as World Travel Market Olympia and Earl’s Court, London.
In many African and indigenous cultures the ‘soul’ considers the life force or spirit needed to communicate with higher powers and nature. This piece explores our connection to the natural environment, water and earth being conduits which support both human and plant growth. The artist plays with dark and light, highs and lows, bringing to light narratives of migration, botanical exchange, African and indigenous knowledge. Popular narratives often omit the fact that enslaved Africans brought considerable knowledge of plants and their uses in spiritual, agricultural and healing traditions. Plants crossed the waters sometimes alongside African bodies with more care and attention given to protect the fragile root systems of the plants, than to the human roots which were severed. The artist’s drawings are taken from plants in her own garden and family gardens in Dominica.
Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) – Economics
A large grass plant from which sugar, molasses and rum are processed. Sugarcane is the economic crop most commonly associated with the brutal system of chattel slavery, which uprooted Africans from home and culture.
Pineapple (Ananas comosus) – Colonial Showpiece
Pineapples were an important crop to indigenous people of the Americas and used as medicine, food, fibre and form of welcome. The plants became a symbol of colonialism and status, grown in specially heated ‘pineries’ and glass houses across Europe. They became embedded into culture as a design feature in British architecture, gardens, art, tableware and home decorations.
Wa Wa (Ranjania cordata) – Resistance
A wild yam indigenous to the island of Dominica and a survival food for Maroons who escaped enslavement on the plantations. Yams are spiritually and nutritionally important in many African cultures and some varieties were introduced from Africa to the Caribbean.
Ferns – Unfolding Futures
The Ghanaian Adinkra symbol ‘AYA’ represents endurance and unfolding futures. Ferns were collected by colonial explorers and grown in Victorian hothouses and ferneries and a sign of wealth and status.
Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) – Wisdom
An edible orchid found in the forests of central and South America with a long history of use by indigenous cultures. The method of hand pollination with a blade of grass was discovered by a 12 year old enslaved African boy called Edmond Albius (1829 – 1880) on a plantation in Reunion Island. This artificial method of pollination led to the rise of the commercial propagation of vanilla, a well loved Victorian flavouring.
Peacock Flower (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) – Freedom of Spirit
The seeds and leaves of this beautiful plant were used as an abortificient by enslaved African women who wished to spare their unborn child the horrors of the brutal slavery system.
African Rice (Oryza glaberrima ) – Survival
Africans contributed to agricultural knowledge and dry planting methods of this hardy, nutritious rice crop. Rice grains and small seeds were also plaited into the hair and transplanted into new lands as a survival strategy.
Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) – Health and Healing
Cannabis has a long history as a healing and psychoactive herb. It was used by indigenous cultures in Africa and India, by enslaved Africans on plantations to cope with oppressive conditions and by Maroons. Cannabis is used as a spiritual herb in the Rastafarian community and as a tea and rub for joint pains by elders in the Caribbean. Politically important due to the imprisonment and incarceration of millions of people across the globe, especially young Black men. Some varieties are a good source of fibre, used for rope, textiles and sails.
Cotton (Gossypium barbadense) – Memory
Cotton is an important economic crop entangled in the traumatic textile history of the world. Textiles such as calico and muslin were often traded as commodities for enslaved Africans. Plantations in the Caribbean and America relied on the labour of enslaved Africans for the arduous task of planting and picking cotton which helped fuel the rise of industrial Britain. This species grown in the Caribbean is called Sea Island cotton, and is known for its long silken fibres.
Cocoa (Theobroma cacao) – Indiginous Cultures
Cocoa has a long history of use going back to the Aztecs who believed it to be ‘food of the Gods’ and used it as a drink for health and vitality. In the late seventeenth century Sir Hans Sloane, a British physician and naturalist, learnt the method of mixing chocolate with milk from enslaved Africans in Jamaica and introduced this to Britain on his return along with 800 new species of plants. Cocoa was also an economic crop which relied on the forced labour of enslaved Africans on plantations.
Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea) – Embodied Knowledge
This is an important economic plant with Amerindian origins and a history of the root being used as an antidote for poison arrows and insect bites. Arrowroot became very popular in Victorian times and was used by colonial doctors in tropical medicine in plantation hospitals as an easily digestible starch for nourishing babies and the sick. This starch is still used as a porridge and thickener in the Caribbean and by Caribbean elders living in Britain.
Sarah Owusu (b.1991) is a Ghanaian British artist. Currently living and working in London. She studied at the University of Essex, earning a BSc (Hons) in Psychology but became immersed in painting after being introduced to the power of art and the possibilities embedded within painting. Her expressive portraits utilise striking, bold and distinctive shapes in different forms. Sarah has since been practising full-time till date, hosting workshops, artist talks and art exhibitions.
Sarah Owusu’s globe explores the richness of Africa and the abundance of creativity that flows from the continent. The subjects chosen explore the richness of our food, creativity and art. Despite Africa’s resources constantly being drained, God always ensures that the cup of Africa’s abundance never runs dry and continues to overflow with creativity through music, art and fashion.
Sarah’s globe includes a portrait of the late Fela Kuti to celebrate his impact on music today and across the world. Not only did Kuti impact the world musically but he also did so politically as an activist who aided in pushing Pan-Africanism and Nkrumahism which has shaped the thinking of Africans today. Behind Fela’s painting, Owusu has used an African wax print as a medium to highlight Africans’ influence on the fashion industry across the world, especially in the last decade. Also on the globe, Owusu has painted two large fruits, a cocoa pod and a papaya. Papaya is widely consumed across the African continent and cocoa forms a significant part of Africa’s identity when it comes to agriculture; it is widely consumed and abundant in West Africa.
Finally there is a painting of the Ashanti stool, a sacred symbol of the Ashanti people of Ghana and one that has been largely stolen and copied by many different cultures across the world. This stool has also been looted and placed in many museums including in Britain, the United States of America and several other museums across the world. African art, although ignorantly referred to as “primitive” by most scholars, continues to show us that Africa was not only the cradle of civilisation but also indeed the birthplace of creativity.
Overall, the vibrancy of the colours used on the globe are an accurate representation of Black culture: vibrant, exuberant and colourful.
As a visual artist and curator, Pauline Bailey has led numerous art projects centred around engagement, equality, and diversity working with a range of excluded and vulnerable groups to find creative expression, particularly to address issues around heritage, identity, sense of place, health and wellbeing.
She is one of the core members of the Black Arts Forum and Handsworth Creative based in Birmingham and also co-founder of the Daughters of Africa Foundation in the Gambia.
Pauline has curated and exhibited work nationally and internationally and is continuing to develop opportunities for emerging artists internationally alongside her individual visual arts practice. Pauline’s practice has always centred around identity and belonging, and she also has a strong interest in other themes such as ‘dereliction’, the natural environment, found/recycled materials and objects of the everyday.
Pauline’s individual art practice is generally informed by the multiple layers of diverse cultures and heritage of the African diaspora.
For the theme Expanding Soul I thought about all the things that Africa has given the world; but there were so many elements it was impossible to include everything on one globe!
I decided to focus on music, the geometric patterns of African cloth that have influenced so much textile and fashion design, and the spiritual symbols of West Africa.
In recent years I have often produced site-specific installations in metal and mixed medium work for the public realm. As a multidisciplinary artist, I also work in a range of other mediums within my engaged practice, including textiles, photography, and video.
Regardless of the medium, my individual art practice is generally informed by the multiple layers of diverse cultures and heritage of the African diaspora.
Lakwena Maciver creates painted prayers and meditations which respond to and re-appropriate elements of popular culture. Exploring the role of the artist as mythmaker, with their use of acid-bright colour and bold typographic text, her paintings act as a means of decolonisation, subtly subverting prevailing mythologies. Her approach is instinctive and autodidactic, producing visceral, rhythmic and immersive panel paintings, iconic murals and installations.
Colonialism comes in many different forms but is essentially about an encroachment on other people’s space. My work is about resisting these forces which infringe upon lands, bodies, minds and souls that are not theirs. A reference I often return to in my work is the struggle fought against the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans and Empire, and their legacies of destruction in Africa and beyond.
As an artist, my interest is in the significance of culture in this struggle, and its importance in telling a different story from that of the oppressor. Inspired by the creative spirit and imagination of a community for whom just to remain in this space has been an immense act of resistance, my globe expresses the boldness, strength and beauty of Black British culture and its impact on Britain.
This culture, which has pushed back against colonial encroachment, has required a refusal to be moved – what could be called Staying Power.
London born Geoffrey is an interdisciplanary artist, musician and film maker. Winner of the inaugeral Brixton Open Art Award he has exhibited his work in London, New York, Honolulu, Sao Paolo, Rio and Sydney. His short film “Prove It” was shown at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
The dreams of those who sailed across the sea /Shine Bright/ The dreams of souls in the belly of the beast/ Shine Bright.
Shine Bright inverts our gaze to evoke an uninhabited space in our imagination. Here, down is up, west is east. A new perspective, a dislocated world view for Africa and the Atlantic, familiar yet not so. We know this place, but in this altered globe there is a shift in relations, a rubbing against the nominative imposition of our identities, our cultures, our texts, our histories, our nations and our attachment to them.
Do we still belong, do we still own these nominative identities? Do you see it, do you touch it, feel it, east is west. Mother sea and Father land. Freedom dreamt as property is today’s lived emancipated joy?
European histories and colonisation are dark fictions in an Afrosurrealist future where the traces and formations of a transatlantic culture have become the cultural metres of the planet. The inverted globe subverts our gaze and sense of belonging to the earth as we know it, and the only mapping other than the dark sea and the red earth is the appreciation of the cultural texts created by the descendants of those who made the transatlantic journey in chrome.
This appreciation is the shining of Samba, of Salsa and Soul, it is the shining of Blues, Bebop and Boogie, Reggae, Jazz, Calypso, Funk, Afrobeat, HipHop and Carnival. All shine brightly on the earth. Caporiera and the legacies of Gospel, Vodun, Santeria, Candomble and Jazz, Jerk, Jambalaya and Gumbo glisten and migrate across the earth; to Europe, the Americas, Asia, Oceana as well as the cultural return beat to Africa.
We sparkle, diamonds in the blackness of the Atlantic, diamonds sprinkled on the blood red lands. Shine bright.
Jasmine is a Bristol based illustrator, mural artist, and designer. Her practise embodies using traditional art methods (illustration) that tells stories of people and places. Amongst her recent work are murals for Royal Shakespeare Company and Pervasive Media Studio. She works regularly as a live sketch artist and visual journalist, and represents corporate organisations live sketching conferences, and designing Infographics for reports and books. She is an experienced political cartoonist for magazines, conveying a political, cultural or social stance in a way that is smart, sensitive and engaging. She is also a regular workshop facilitator and works with both children and adults, and is currently a board member for creative enterprise Rising Arts Agency.
My initial feeling in responding to the theme Expanding Soul, was to create something celebratory, something vibrant and something that embodies soul in its purest forms. I wanted to explore music, community, food, love; elements that are not just connected to, but often rooted in African and Caribbean culture.
There is so much beauty to celebrate, so choosing a small selection of images to represent the joy and beauty of it was incredibly challenging, and there is so much more that could have been included. I wanted people to see images that resonate with them; whether it’s the young girl sat between the knees or her auntie getting her hair braided, the women laughing and dancing, or the guys in the studio making music.
For me it was important to include one anecdote that connects me to this work too, hence drawing in an old photo of my grandfather and cousin that’s particularly close to my heart. I was inspired from the moment my pen touched the globe, and thoroughly enjoyed the creative process of making this work. I just hope this piece – as the theme suggests – opens and soothes the souls of those who see it.
Ali is a Northumberland based professional artist who studied and worked in the fashion and textiles industry. Her artworks observe the composition of patterns as an artform. Using the irregularities found in the everyday she builds a repetition of elements that begin to tell a story.
Ali has previously painted her designs onto a variety of large scale sculptures and is a published illustrator, helping create books that have become best sellers. As an environmental artist, her current work is inspired by the textures and the chaotic patterns of the underwater world. With an emphasis on illustration, her work blends traditional painting with digital techniques. Her work is commissioned commercially by clients in the UK, USA, Europe and Australia.
Represented through the art of quilting, this design celebrates the vividly complex stories of pain, oppression, freedom, and power of African American culture.
Originally African textiles were made by men, the slave division of work according to Western patriarchal practices in the United States meant women took over the tradition. A combination of traditional African appliqué techniques mixed with traditional European quilting styles brought African American quilts to life. These quilts tell stories, documenting family trees, remembering departed loved ones, and sharing faith. Using discarded scraps from cloth, quilts were made from gunny sacks to old blankets and worn clothes. The use of symbols, bright colours, vertical pieces, enlarged graphic designs, and asymmetry originated from African textile styles.
A break in a pattern symbolised rebirth in ancestral power with a break in a pattern helped keep spirits away. Evil was believed to travel in straight lines and this break confused the spirits and slowed them down. Many of the incorporated symbols remain unknown.
Stories exist about the role quilts may have had in the Underground Railroad, although researchers have found little actual evidence of codes in the quilt blocks or messages in quilts hanging on clothes-lines. Fact or myth, the idea of a quilt code is compelling: instead of a pen and paper, the quilts use a needle and scraps of fabric to provide a unique history of lives and culture. Stitch by stitch, bringing together a larger picture, articulating a rich and complicated story of our shared history.
The extraordinary needlework skills in these quilts undoubtedly tell human stories, some not easy to tell, but each deserving a platform. My design explores these ideas, choosing no single unifying style, but celebrating the uniqueness and individuality of each quilt maker.
Born in Sierra Leone, Julianknxx is a poet, visual artist and filmmaker whose practice crosses the boundaries of written word, music and visual art. Through his practice Julianknxx explores themes of inheritance, loss, and belonging, and their effects on personal and interpersonal narratives.
If we consider the ocean as a point of departure and meeting, what does it mean if we carry the ocean with us? If all in the African diaspora are at once singular yet connected to a multiplicity of lands, identities, and cultures, can new freedom be found in thinking of oneself as part of a global community of black experience and expression?
What’s Left of Us? considers the world with no seas and oceans. It is an ongoing artistic exploration of the psychic and cultural binds that connect us. The ocean occupies a distinct place in the histories of African diasporas, becoming a symbol of life and loss, death and rapture, hope and tragedy, whilst continuing to operate as a conduit for shared experiences – history left us an ocean.
When viewing the globe from this perspective, the physical connection between lands becomes apparent. However, beyond the reveal of the earth devoid of water, the erasure contains a violent aspect to it, alluding to a world devoid of Black peoples and our contributions through time – as with water Black peoples have nourished our globe through history.
The globe prompts a psychological shift toward connectivity, to see ourselves as people of movement, flowing across our world like the oceans themselves.
Liverpool based illustrator and artist Sumuyya Khader works in a multiplicity of ways within the sector including with major institutions, independent projects, publishers, social enterprises and artist-led groups.
Her practice is a combination of illustration, painting & print works that predominantly explore place and identity.
Recent projects have included establishing Granby Press, a community print shop built as a resource for the local community to print zines, newsletters, flyers and artworks.
Her first solo show ‘Always Black, Never Blue’ opened at Bluecoat Liverpool in October 2021 and her next show is part of a group exhibition Refractive Pool: Contemporary Painting in Liverpool opening at Walker Art Gallery in April 2022. In October 2020, Khader curated Celebrating Black Liverpool Artists, an outdoor exhibition on the facade of the Bluecoat as part of Liverpool City Council’s Without Walls programme, which celebrated the work of 5 Liverpool artists and highlighted the lack of visibility for the work of Black women in the city.
Characters reimagined and futures unknown.
This piece is a colourful representation of all that is colourful and Black. The moments of joy we deserve and crave. The bright and wielding futures we strive and dream for.
Through four characters this warm future has been created, strong glances, resilient faces, the idea is to have people see themselves in the figures and imagine what their future will be.
Ageless and present. They are here, they are possible and they are us!
Gil Mualem-Doron is an award-winning socially engaged artist and photographer. In his work he investigates issues such as identity and diasporic spaces, social and racial justice, “place making” and transcultural aesthetics. While often using participatory and collaborative practices much of his work is informed also by his own complex identity and lived experiences of marginalisation. Not having formal fine-art training and with a background in architecture, photography, research and activism his work is trans-disciplinary and varied in media and scale. In the past decade his work included mass workshops and participatory photoshoots in Museums, galleries and community centres, street interventions, creation of agitprops as well as more traditional forms including studio photography, large scale installations and digital art. His work has been exhibited extensively in the UK, Europe and the Middle East including Tate Modern, the Turner Contemporary, Liverpool Museum and as well as in galleries and museums in the US, Netherlands, Berlin, Spain, Israel-Palestine and South Africa.
The New Union Flag (NUF) reimagines the Union Jack and celebrates the communities that have contributed to the UK’s cultural legacy. Recreated with fabric designs from all over the world, the New Union Flag transforms the traditional Union Jack from an archetype of uniformity into a dynamic and celebrational ongoing performance of diversity. Whilst this flag started as a reflection of the UK’s colonial legacy, its design is ever-changing to reflect the ongoing changes in the makeup of this nation.
For The World Reimagined, the 2D Flag was redesigned to fit the globe sculpture and the Reimagine The Future theme.
From 2015, the New Union Flag has evolved every few months with the contributions of participants from various national and ethnic backgrounds. For three years it has engaged thousands of people through gallery exhibitions – Turner Contemporary, Tate Modern, South Bank Centre, People’s History Museum Manchester, Liverpool Museum, The Jewish Museum, Rich Mix and more – as well as through numerous cultural events, school visits, festivals, rallies, and workshops.
The New Union Flag project includes photoshoots and video-recorded conversations with people who would like to see it adopted as the national flag – as well as others who don’t. The flag was part of social gatherings and demonstrations and was used in public space interventions. The New Union Flag project is in constant development and invitations for exhibitions, public talks and workshops are welcomed.
Suchi Chidambaram is a painter, born and raised in Southern India. She moved to London in 1998 and works from her studio in Acton. Mainly self-taught, her work focuses on narrating her experience of a place and its people through rapid palette knife marks using oil paints. Her interpretations are not painted in situ but from memory, allowing fragments of visual data to mingle with her subjective and emotional responses. The resulting work varies between figuration and abstraction. In 2021, Suchi’s work Parallel Conversations was selected to be part of the I Matter exhibition curated by Lincolnshire-based Olu Taiwo, who sought work by ethnic minority artists themed around the title I Matter and all its iterations. Suchi has been an ACAVA artist since 2008. She held her first solo exhibition at the Nehru Centre, London in 2006 and has since participated in numerous exhibitions across England as well as India, Italy, Bahrain, UAE and Oman.
I chose the theme Reimagine The Future because I feel the world has become too fragmented and our differences too deep-rooted. It feels like it is time to press the reset button and begin to celebrate our diversity and work on potential possibilities through creative collaborations. History has shaped each of our lives and it is very important to be aware of our histories. Experiences have shown that the ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ approach only deepens and worsens these divisions and harms. What is instead possible is channelling our energies into more positively shaping the future.
In my depiction of a Reimagined Future, the globe is represented through the course of a complete day, from dawn to nightfall, narrating the ups and downs that every individual encounters on their journey. In this reimagined world, each person is more grounded, clear thinking and wise.
The figures are illustrated with a stroke of acrylic paint suggested by rapid brush marks, forming crowds of people from every nationality, religion, colour, age and gender. The images of individuals are silhouetted against the bright light they hold within that supports each one to be kind, considerate, compassionate and tolerant towards themselves and to those around them, leading to a radiance that dissolves any intolerance to differences. The luminosity of each mind sets the globe aglow, restoring the oneness of spirit as global citizens.
To quote Desmond Tutu, ‘Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.’
Born in Croydon, England in 1992, Brookfield grew up in Derby and studied Fine art in Leicester, where he attended De Montfort University. He’s won the peoples choice award as part of the Robert Walters UK New Artist of the year award 2021 and he has had his work featured on Creativeboom and Juxtapoz. Brookfield is currently pursuing a life of art-making in Leicester, England.
After exploring the theme to which I am responding, Reimagine The Future, several keywords and phrases presented themselves to me; from roots to fruit; vitality; courage; fluidity; unwavering; and the divine feminine.
All of which I felt are emblematic of the transmutation of the pain, suffering, and darkness our ancestors endured, into a source of tremendous power and light.
What I wanted to offer in relation to these is an energetic response where the green whimsical and fluid lines blend into light, warm and sparkling yellow areas that in parts surround semi-abstract flowers. The fluid and soft lines could be interpreted as a celebration of the unwavering nature of the human spirit to continuously rise above adversity and adapt – like water – endlessly curving around seemingly immovable rocks in a river. The abstract flowers – bright and pink – could be seen as symbolic of the divine feminine and creative processes of renewal, the beginning of a new legacy.
The main colours – pink, yellow, and blue-green – have been inspired, but slightly adapted, by the colours of the Cameroonian flag, which forms part of my own mixed heritage.
What I hope that my globe will offer people, is an opportunity for all of us to meditate and contemplate upon the things about our humanity that historically and cross-culturally unite us all as opposed to what divides us. ‘God has written evil into the storyline of life, but it generally takes a positive trajectory, so that what you end up with is not a tragedy but a tale of hope and inspiration.’ – Jesse Coueavhoven. Still, we rise.
Award-winning contemporary digital illustrator based in Bristol, UK. I create Pop art with a modern edge. My work has been commissioned for a collaborative project with Banksy, I had my first solo exhibition in Amsterdam in 2018/2019 and I have been commissioned by brands such as Nike, Footlocker, Facebook, BBC, gal-dem and more.
My globe features an artistic interpretation of depictions of Black women in pivotal times throughout this period of history – women whose voices and stories have been lost or overshadowed completely.
Stories that have been passed down through oral history and become folk tales – like Queen Nanny of the Maroons – and interpretations of lesser-known free Black women such as Joane Marya who was described as a ‘black Moore’ living in Bristol during the seventeenth century. How did the lives of women like these women impact attitudes towards abolition and what did emancipation look like for women living through slavery?
Learning the legacy of these women gives us no choice but to rethink the roles of Black women, and how their lives and voices impacted the fight for freedom, as well as the legacy of their lives.
What more is there for us to uncover and how will this reshape how we tell the story of emancipation? How can our learning from these stories impact the world today?
Jess Perrin is an illustrator and designer, living and working in Birmingham. Jess studied Graphic Communication and Illustration at Loughborough University, specializing in animation and character design. She completed her Master’s Degree in Visual Communication in 2019, and loves to create graphic digital work with a strong narrative.
Her love for design of all types can be seen throughout her work, particularly playing with colour to portray meaning and evoke emotion. Throughout her professional life, Jess has found a love of pattern design, and is particularly influenced by folk art from around the world as well as drawing inspiration from the natural world and the stories people have to tell.
Jess has created over 40 sculptures with Wild in Art since 2017 for a number of trails across the UK, raising over £120,000 from the sale of her work for various charities.
A Code For A Better Future draws heavily on what every community can do to create a better world for tomorrow.
Using the Adinkra symbols that originated in Ghana, West Africa – which have been used for creating fabrics, logos and pottery for many centuries – this design creates a code for how we as humans need to behave to imagine a world that is equal for all.
Identifying four core categories seen throughout the Adinkra symbols – education, co-operation, love and peace – the pattern that has been created on the sculpture resembles a code. Using symbols such as ‘Sankofa’ meaning ‘learn from the past,’ as well as ‘Bi Nka Bi’ which symbolises peace and harmony, this pattern asks the world to educate themselves on the past, and work together to find a better future.
The colours and layout for this design are inspired by the lost wax pouring techniques of Benin. The symbols are arranged as though being poured from the top as well as rising up from underneath; as though molten gold being poured through a mould.
I used a vinyl stencil technique to create the design. This involved spraying the whole globe gold and, once dry, attaching the vinyl stencils to the sculpture. I then sprayed the whole sculpture black, and peeled the stencils off to reveal the gold symbols underneath.
This method provides an extremely clean and precise finish, and creates a very smooth surface. The overall aesthetic of the sculpture is intended to be elegant and simple, but with a very important message.
3Dom is one of Bristol’s new generation of street artists, who regularly paints amazing pieces in a liberal city that has a history of supporting artists. 3Dom is an appropriate name – He regularly combines disparate images in the same characters, ranging from lemons to weight’s bars, treehouses and cages. 3Dom’s vivid imagination, combined with his sense of humour, makes each one of his characters original, unmistakable and a pleasure to find on the street.
For this piece, I wanted to show the world in layers, and in doing so show the history of the routes of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans, and where our people were taken from and displaced to. I hope we are able to begin to understand the size of this operation and the impact it had and still has on the history of our earth.
Nicola Green is a critically acclaimed artist, social historian and public speaker. Green has established an international reputation for her ambitious and insightful projects that can change perceptions and challenge prevailing narratives of identity, power, leadership, race and gender. Green has a unique perspective, driven by her belief in the capacity of the visual image to communicate important human stories. She chooses to assume the role of ‘witness’ to momentous occasions taking place across the globe, and creates and preserves social-cultural heritage for future generations.
Green gained global recognition for her seminal project In Seven Days…. which resulted from her unprecedented artistic access to Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign. With a front row seat to historic events, Green created a complex visual legacy of this moment in history, which constantly evolves in its dialogue with the future Green’s project, Encounters, was a ground-breaking exhibition of over fifty portraits of the world’s most prominent religious leaders. A global story, it is unique in its depiction of the world’s major religions together for the first time in art history and without hierarchy. Sitters included Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Pope Benedict XVI.
Green is dedicated to social impact and has worked tirelessly towards creating positive change and equality in the artworld and beyond. Green co-founded and directed the Diaspora Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale, showcasing 22 artists from culturally diverse backgrounds. Green also founded the Khadija Saye Arts programme at IntoUniversity which addresses the issue of BAME representation in the creative industries. As co-founder of Sophia Point Rainforest Research Centre, Green has championed the preservation and exploration of the Guiana Shield, the largest remaining pristine rainforest on earth. Green has mentored many aspiring young artists and is the Patron of Women in Art.
My globe represents the deep-rooted connection between racial justice and climate justice – two of the most urgent issues of the twenty-first century. It is widely accepted that there is an intrinsic connection between the historic oppression of people, and the exploitation and plunder of the world’s natural resources.
My globe is enveloped by the Guiana Shield; one of the largest remaining intact rainforests on earth, a protective sanctuary between heaven and earth, the difference between life and death. Above the rainforest, atop my globe, the sky is bursting with black and brown angels embellished with 24 karat gold. Beneath the forest is the sea and a map which reimagines the world as a water lily. My globe’s theme is the last stage on The Journey of Discovery.
I hope that as we work together to recognise our shared history of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans, my artwork will serve as a reminder that harnessing the possibilities of our future rely on us acknowledging how that history has shaped our present. My globe ultimately represents hope. We are still blessed to have the opportunity to preserve the Guiana Shield, the ‘lungs’ of the earth, and all the wonderful secrets it holds.
Koby Martin is a Ghanaian born British based artist. Koby Martin is a proud export of Ghana. His talent and God-given gift was nurtured in his motherland and polished in the United Kingdom. These worlds merge together in his art where traits his African descent and life in Europe thus far, can be seen as a consistent influence in the narratives of his pieces. Koby’s work is an introspective autobiographical exploration of his life which portrays the inclusive human experience of dealing with emotions, memories, thoughts and feelings that we all undeniably feel. Through emotive figures, subjects and abstract forms, he captures beautifully the human essence of both courage and sadness which is a constant theme throughout his work that is expressed in both traditional and digital mediums. Throughout his career, Koby has been responsible for various creative content for global level for artists including Krept & Konan, Wizkid, J Hus, Wretch 32, Chronixx, Tinie Tempah and many more.
Koby’s process of creating the idea for the globe involved it being partitioned in two parts —the first being the painting illustrated with the blue banner ‘Justice 4 The Pryces’ which goes on to portray on both corners of the notice, the Ghanaian Adinkra symbol ‘Funtunfunefu Denkyemfuntunefu’ that translates as Siamese crocodiles in English. The symbol represents democracy and unity which serves as a reminder that infighting and tribalism is harmful to all who engage in it.
The piece comes together to pay particular attention to the case of Eustace Pryce, who was murdered in a racist attack in 1984. Shortly afterwards Pryce’s brother Gerald was arrested. The murderer, Martin Newhouse, was also eventually arrested, but the judicial proceedings clearly revealed the bias of the police and of the wider justice system: the murderer was released on bail over Christmas whereas Gerald Pryce, whose brother had died and was dubiously charged with affray, was denied bail. The NMP (Newham Monitoring Project) established in the 1980’s, organised a defence campaign where their work was crucial in contesting Gerald Pryce’s criminalisation, as well as highlighting the institutional racism of the police and legal system.
On the other side of the globe is a depiction of the London riots which occurred almost ten years ago. They spread across London, including in Newham, as well as other major English cities. It was sparked by the death of 29 year old Mark Duggan, who was shot dead by police in Tottenham on 4 August 2011. The riots – the biggest in modern English history – lasted for five days and swept the capital, from Wood Green to Woolwich. The reverberations of these historical events juxtaposed against each other in the context of the present are striking; questioning what has actually changed within the legal system and the institutional racism of the police force.
This globe piece is as much concerned with the present — and the future — as with the past. In a cinematic style of flames which is distinctively his, Koby uses fire as a symbol of cleansing and purification against the structures of institutional racism of the police and legal system; burning down the edifices that have been a significant legatee of these horrendous acts over the years.
Koby’s intention painting was also to bring to life the historical narratives of the inspirational work by community activists as well as individuals like George Eustace and others whose stories and images are largely forgotten by historical accounts, and also to create a dialogue between the past and the present: disturbing parallels with racist violence then and now.
Amber Akaunu (b.1996) is a Liverpool born Nigerian-German filmmaker working in cinema, art, and tv to document and explore Black culture, identity, and history. Amber is a BAFTA scholar and recent MA film graduate who is currently residing in South London. Her creative practice extends to her role as co-founder and editor of ROOT-ed Zine where she works to support Black, Asian and PoC artists in the North West of England through publishing, workshops, guest lectures, curating, and producing.
Film by: Amber Akaunu
Featuring: Elliss Thompson & Elias Dubicki
Production Assistants: Morayo Omotesho & Arel Akaunu
After engaging with the community in Liverpool City Region, several themes were raised in our discussions. One of these themes was this idea of connectivity between people and places. The discussion went deeper than the physical and touched on unseen and spiritual connectivity. I came away from these discussions inspired and with lots to think about. I decided to represent this idea, and other topics we discussed, through the concept of auras. To align this piece with my own creative practice, I also decided to create a short film piece featuring two creatives from Liverpool. The film, and the globe, embodies the unseen impacts of trauma and enslavement through the visual aura a place has. The film uses colour as a metaphor and gateway to think about these lasting, unseen consequences.
Rosanna is a multidisciplinary artist and teacher based in Leeds, Yorkshire. She uses a playful approach to mark-making, incorporating elements of collage, drawing and experimental painting to explore shifting cultural representations of everyday life.
This globe evolved from work with local communities in Leeds and responded to the notion of being connected to place.
Through conversations it became clear that a sense of movement and journeys were deeply rooted in the experience of community members in Leeds. For example, the migration journeys which people made to be here. These journeys often represent tensions and conflicts whilst also documenting family, belonging and a sense of home.
My intention was to try and encapsulate this through a series of mark making, colour choices and allow for the notion of ‘push and pull’ to organically emerge. Through the continued discussions and in the creation of the globe, it has been encouraging to hear a wide range of interpretations. Many have commented on the sea and how it moves, and this echoes back to the idea of migration; others saw dancing feet and related this to Carnival and dancing; while others have commented on the green spaces that are a prevalent and beloved feature of our city.
This city hosts people to whom migration and movement are part of their daily experience. I hope this globe will create conversations around those experiences. Furthermore, I hope it can inspire them to think about what their sense of place is and how it can progress into our shared futures.
Birungi Kawooya is a collage artist and teacher inspired by nature, the beauty of Black women and the ingenuity of dance from the African diaspora using batik, paper and paint. Her portraits celebrate Black womanhood, elevating rest, joy and wellbeing. Nostalgia and family also inform her practice, from memories of kitchen discos with her siblings and Kiganda dancers at weddings. She creates art she wants to see more of in the world and therefore her primary theme is depicting Black women, usually with flawless jet-Black skin. Birungi seeks to elevate Black women so that they can see themselves as works of art and gain self-esteem. In 2020 she reflected on how Black women are pivotal in leading social justice movements and decided to focus on compelling Black women to protect their dream space with the “Sisters Need Sleep” collection. Birungi’s art explores movement through paper silhouettes illuminated by Ugandan batik textiles which connect the dance pieces to her heritage. Her work is often infused with the lush plant life such as tropical flowers and matooke (banana) trees which are common in Uganda and are referenced in the Josephine Baker collection.
Breathe in, deeply.
Hold your breath and feel your heartbeat.
Exhale, ever so slowly.
Slow down and create some peace inside you.
You are welcome here, to pause at Peckham in Bloom; a site of rest and restoration, inspired by Black womxn. This is the first sculpture in the ‘Sisters Need Sleep’ collection, which celebrates Black womxn in rest and nurturing their creativity. All Black womxn deserve a space in Peckham to breathe and to be at ease.
The three incredible Black women you see are Lorna, Audrey and Titilayomi. The love and care they pour into their communities and Southwark inspired me to create an offering that is reminiscent of the tropics they grew up in.
Peckham’s Golden Mile is teeming with all the tropical fruit and vegetables that sustained our ancestors and that we enjoy everyday, thanks to farmers in the Caribbean and Africa. Nature restores us, but we in the Global North are responsible for the destruction of the planet and it is indigenous communities in the Global South – and particularly Black womxn and girls who suffer the most. Therefore, we must listen to Black womxn and girls, because they have the answers to help us restore our collective humanity and sustain our planet.
Take some time to turn inwards, pause and reflect. How can you support Black womxn and girls to thrive and nurture our planet, so we can all enjoy papaya, matooke and sugar cane for generations to come?
Richard Mensah is a British Ghanaian London based artist who works with and paints in different media. He describes himself as a born artist as he has had no formal art/painting education or training. His love of drawing, sketching and painting was noticed at a very young age and in the very early years of his education in Ghana where he was born. Although his artistic talents was always visible, he was persuaded to pursue science instead of art in his secondary education.
The community globe design for Lambeth focuses on local activism and the prominence of arts and culture strongly linked to Lambeth. The two main themes came up strongly during community engagement discussions at Lambeth and were identified as being part of the fabric of the Lambeth community. Lambeth is very diverse, and its history is characterised by strong local activism which has seen so many issues tackled or highlighted and brought to national attention.
One such local activist whose image is referenced on the community globe is Olive Morris. Within her short life, Olive Elaine Morris (26 June 1952 – 12 July 1979) achieved so much in racial justice, housing equality and women’s rights. The building at 18 Brixton Hill, which was renamed Olive Morris House in her memory, has been referenced in the painting to highlight her fight for equal housing. Olive typifies the bravery, activism and dedication to fight for what is right which Lambeth is known for. Her image on the globe highlights this and aims to inspire the next generation of activists.
Another person referenced on the community globe is local artist, poet and activist, Linton Kwesi Johnson. His work has always been political, vital and necessary – drawing attention to issues like systemic racism, police abuse and calling for governments, institutions and society to be held to account. Linton’s contribution to arts, culture and activism shines a light on the work of talented individuals in Lambeth. His work and continued activism still inspires many, and his image and his quote on the globe is meant to inspire people to speak out for what they believe in.
The globe also features silhouettes of people protesting and celebrating to highlight the demonstration of the two unique themes described above within Lambeth. The entangled circles with black dots represent our linked destiny as people; reminding us that our actions or inactions speaking up and out always affect others.
Olivia Twist is an illustrator and educator based in East London. The key threads which can be found in her work are place, the mundane and overlooked narratives. Her striking visual language comprises a myriad of esoteric layers informed by a propensity for human-centred research methodologies. As a practitioner her aims are to provide her audience with ‘the shock of the familiar’ and to trigger greater intergenerational discussion.Olivia has a strong interest in participatory design, relational aesthetics and documenting social history as it unfolds.
Alongside the community workshop for this globe I engaged in archival research through the Hackney Archives and Eastend Womens library and The Bishopsgate Institute. I was inspired by activism in Hackney over the era and wanted to reflect this boldness and staying power through my design.
I learned about the women’s labour strike at the Rego and Polikoff clothing factory and it tied in with something a Hackney resident told me in the workshop about a Hackney tenants group that used to meet in the old cinema. The 600 seamstresses were campaigning for better pay, which links to today’s strikes for living wages.
Then I looked into Lesbian squats and communal homes in London Fields in the 70’s and 80’s. By the late 1970’s, London Fields became an oasis of lesbian communes, with estimates of over fifty women-only households. Some streets even had continuous terraces of women-only squats. The majority of these women were lesbians: living together, sharing childcare, and organising politically. The squats weren’t only for shared living and many also served as venues for poetry, photography, writing and other cultural activities.
Then I looked into the 1980’s protests and how the people of Hackney called for systemic change, which linked to the recent Child Q demonstrations held outside Stoke Newington police station. The people of Hackney are really active citizens and I wanted to celebrate this in my globe design.
I also did research into the ethnic demographics and incorporated colours from the flags of the Caribbean and West Africa into my design. I was inspired by the history of ‘staying power’, a Caribbean colloquial term, by the communities in Hackney against gentrification so I brought this into the design using a protest poster style.
Kyle’s artistry has expanded into several genres from writing and directing for animation, filmmaking, theatre and graffiti murals, as well as designing and making his own graffiti clothing line. Kyle has written, directed, designed and animated four 2D short films for Channel 4 and S4C. He also makes music videos and cover art for local bands. In 2015, Kyle became the first artist in residence for National Theatre Wales. In 2017, Kyle wrote, designed and directed his own play “R.A.T.S (Rose Against the System), which was staged in the roof void at the Wales Millennium Centre. He has also actively contributed to multi-platform artworks for an exhibition that explores the legacy of the Cardiff 1919 race riots.
The ideas contained within the Swansea Community Globe – Upside-Down World – came from conversations with Swansea citizens and was quite literally influenced by local people as it was being painted; I worked on the globe outside which prompted all sorts of interesting conversations and questions with passers-by.
Some shared their knowledge of Swansea’s nickname as ‘Copperopolis’ – in the eighteenth and nineteen centuries Swansea was the world centre of copper and brass production – and many of the products and trinkets produced in the area were used by Europeans to trade for enslaved Africans.
Many of the young people I spoke to didn’t know of this history, and as I learned, I improved my ability to share what I had learned about the darker side of Wales’s history with them. I grew to understand that the globe could become a powerful means of educating our communities.
My design shows the World Upside-Down – a world turned upside down in the rush to colonise Africa.
Wales is shown as large as the African continent so we can see the considerable role it had in the wealth that was made in the trade of human lives. We see the mining of slate that created the wealth to buy the plantations in Jamaica. The industrialisation of iron and steel from Merthyr Tydfil that was also used to trade for enslaved Africans.
Africa is depicted with a sad mother, who is literally handing down her crowned baby to the European dominated world, knowing that for centuries to come her children will be enslaved. An example of the unnatural and manipulated nature of things in this period of history.
Welsh people produced the cheapest cotton, so it was used to clothe the enslaved in the Jamaican plantations, owned by Welsh barons. There is a list of the things that were traded from Wales for Africans.
I have painted the looms twice, the cotton stretches all around the globe, showing the severity and mechanism of the middle passage trade. The looms are spinning slowly and dressing the enslaved, who I have depicted as spokes in the ship’s wheels and the slats of the looms.
Europe is at the bottom of the globe imagined as a slave ship, with its sails boasting an upside-down Britain.
Using a base of bronze for the countries and silver for the sea shows how the natural resources precious metals of the country combined with the exports led to Wales becoming very wealthy from the triangular trade routes.
This project has given me much to think about; one important thing I will take with me is that we shouldn’t be embarrassed to talking about the horrific past. We can celebrate and remember the good, and teach and understand the bad, so that it can never happen again.
Natasha Muluswela b. 1995 is a self-taught, Zimbabwean-born visual artist based in the United Kingdom. Muluswela studied French and Spanish at Nottingham Trent University, graduating in 2017. Her art centers around body positivity, exploring what it means to be deemed as beautiful in our society. She explores skin conditions such as vitiligo, stretch marks and ageism. Conditions which in some parts of the world are seen as shameful or have stigma tied to them.
Muluswela wants to portray how society can deem these as imperfections. Yet to her, these unique markings are a natural part of being human. Additionally, Muluswela’s works explore the human condition of migration and what it means for Africans to take-up space away from the Diaspora. Through the use of symbolism through figures, she sheds light on the deep-rooted realities of racism, discrimination and marginalisation in a post-colonial oppressive system. Challenging her views on not only Africa’s political past and present but its potential and future through art. The subject matter of each artwork determines the materials used in the piece.
Movers of the Past, Shakers of Tomorrow is inspired by conversations I had with community groups in the City of London. We spoke about people of colour who are working towards racial justice and shaking up the status quo in our society.
Two names that were mentioned were Marcus Rashford, for his humanitarian work against child poverty and hunger, and Micheala Cole for being unapologetically herself and advocating for LGBTQ rights. In addition to this, two more names were given for people who helped to shape our world and tirelessly fought for racial justice, Nelson Mandela and Maya Angelou.
I decided to section the globe into four and paint their portraits in black and white, set against the colourful background of the native flags of the painted individuals, rather than the flags of the countries in which they now reside. Furthermore, I took the approach of colour blocking the flags in an abstract way, which is less prominent but still powerful enough to honour their roots.
Based in London and the West Midlands with history steeped in early London graffiti art culture and graphic design. Create Not Destroy specialises in Videography, Photography, Mural Art and Design.
My immediate intention for the globe design was to create an image that was stark and bold with questions for the viewer to ponder and consider about the ramification of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans and its damning legacy.
I wanted to reference the graphic nature of poster art and protest art, so in my piece I have painted a protest. On the placards the protesters hold I added information and comments about the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans. I also wanted to relate the historical struggle for abolition to our struggles today for equality and justice.
As I engaged with the community in Birmingham in preparing this work, I wanted to represent their feeling of loss but also of unity.
Natasha Muluswela b. 1995 is a self-taught, Zimbabwean-born visual artist based in the United Kingdom. Muluswela studied French and Spanish at Nottingham Trent University, graduating in 2017. Her art centers around body positivity, exploring what it means to be deemed as beautiful in our society. She explores skin conditions such as vitiligo, stretch marks and ageism. Conditions which in some parts of the world are seen as shameful or have stigma tied to them.
Muluswela wants to portray how society can deem these as imperfections. Yet to her, these unique markings are a natural part of being human. Additionally, Muluswela’s works explore the human condition of migration and what it means for Africans to take-up space away from the Diaspora. Through the use of symbolism through figures, she sheds light on the deep-rooted realities of racism, discrimination and marginalisation in a post-colonial oppressive system. Challenging her views on not only Africa’s political past and present but its potential and future through art. The subject matter of each artwork determines the materials used in the piece.
Our community workshop took place, fittingly, at the African Caribbean Centre in Leicester. It is a place for this community to be together. It offered us a familiar environment to discuss the history of Leicester’s black community. In my design I represent these two demographics, African and Caribbean, through the images of two women.
On one side I highlight Leicesters vibrant African community with Mama Africa, a strong and beautiful woman surrounded by rich earth tones to represent the land. On the other side of the globe, I feature a Caribbean woman with a waterfall of braids that carries some of the important people and places of Leicester’s Caribbean community.
Between them I have painted the background blue representing the ocean that separates these two communities today. Despite the physical distance these two groups are connected by the history of the Transatlantic Trafficing of Enslaved Africans. We honour their roots.
My practice has always focused on the positive aspects of Black history. My design focuses on our healing from the past, on unity, and on pride in ourselves and our community. My intention is to convey hope and encourage a sense of self-actualisation, while still honouring our cultural heritage and history.
Power Out of Restriction (POoR) is a social enterprise that focuses on the development of communities through the elevation of young people. POoR sees the power of the younger generation and seeks to get young voices heard.
Beneath The Surface celebrates the contributions people of the African diaspora have made in Camden. For many people, the London borough is a bustling cultural zone where food markets can be seen alongside alternative music influences. While Camden has a rich history, much of its Black history dwells beneath the surface. Its powerful Black stories should be at the forefront of this popular tourist location not pushed underground.
With this in mind, Power Out of Restriction teamed up with the local community to develop a globe design that carefully speaks to the local Black community. Camden has a strong history of fighting for equality and is by far one of the most diverse areas in the country.
Beneath The Surface aims to highlight this while simultaneously educating people on local figures. The globe encompasses key Black people in the area such as Beryl Gilroy, Camden’s first Black headteacher; the borough’s new mayor Sabrina Francis; and Oscar-winning actor Daniel Kaluuya. The design consists of key movements, people, and places that Black people have influenced and changed for the better. Vibrant colours are juxtaposed against a bold background where silhouettes of key moments in Camden’s Black history can be found.
Beneath The Surface looks at the past and present of Camden while also looking ahead. It honours the local Black community and their stories while beginning to unpack hidden histories.
Shannon Bono is a multimedia-driven artist, curator, cultural writer, and MA Art & Science graduate from Central Saint Martins University 2019. Bono is invested in producing symbolic layered figurative compositions that centralise the black female body as the subject, using it as a second canvas to tell stories of intersectionality and cultural practices with oil and acrylic paints as her medium.
Her mission to advocate for the presence of black bodies is captured by the element of scale, colour, and anatomical manipulation. She re-imagines these bodies as a map of modernity employing surrealist cues to work as ‘artivisms’ (art+activism) against oppressive forces and share muted narratives.
My paintings embody an afro-fem-centrist consciousness, sharing muted narratives and projecting Black women’s lived experience. I am invested in producing layered, figurative, compositions embedded with symbols and scientific metaphors that centralise Black womanhood as a source of knowledge and understanding.
Enamoured by African spirituality, Christian iconography and renaissance art, I employ its purpose of cultural impact, liturgy and instruction for an improved society within my works. I explore the internal body as well as the external, by merging the design of notable fabrics from Africa with biological structures and chemical processes in living organisms for the backgrounds of my works and using the anatomy as a second canvas in the foreground.
My globe design presents the faces of the women of Westminster Amy Ashwood Garvey and Mary Seacole, both women have plaques in the community but I feel it is important we represent them and put faces to their names. These women led lives dedicated to the service of others and have impacted history with their work.