Drawing on themes of identity, representation, and the legitimacy of monuments, this talk, co-produced with UP Projects, will explore a number of public art projects recently commissioned in London including recent tributes to the Windrush Generation and their descendants.
This talk considers if public art interventions need to be monumental in scale, permanent, or material to be impactful, and will examine the potential of memorials and memorialisation as vehicles for learning, contemplation, and reflection.
This event aims to raise awareness and offer a platform for debate around the importance of public art to create more inclusive public spaces that better reflect the diversity and hybridity of the British public today.
Melanie Abrahams is a curator, producer, writer and a mentor of Caribbean parentage who has channeled a love of words and books into projects, businesses and escapades. She’s founder of the independent organisation Renaissance One and the spoken word project Tilt, which make regular use of live events, tours and commissions to highlight the diverse canons of British and international literature and spoken word.
Artists and organisations collaborated with include Miami Book Fair, Chris Ofili, The Space, Bocas Lit Fest (Trinidad) and the BBC. This year she is the co-curator of My Words with Samenua Sesher and Joy Francis, a digital exhibition of the cultural contribution of poets of colour over 250 years as part of the core team of Museum of Colour. From 2021 to summer 2022, she was part of the UP Projects Team as a Curator and the Caribbean Community Engagement Consultant for The National Windrush Monument. Earlier this year, she was founder and co-curator ofThis Is Who We Area mentoring programme and a multimedia festival by and for global majority womxn of colour based in the UK and Australia which formed part of the British Council's UK Australia Season. She is the Senior Producer for the children-led project Colonial Countryside. Her contribution has been recognised through a ‘Women To Watch’ Award, and curatorships and speaker commissions for Bluecoat, Carnival Village, Creative & Cultural Skills and universities. Melanie is delighted to be a consultant with UP Projects who are making change and opening up discourse around public art and people's engagement with spaces and culture.
Sonia E Barrett performs Composites of plants, animals, elements and people to create interventions that presence their objectification and commodification. She also thinks about how to change perceptions of phenomena in “nature” that are a given. The work seeks to create new questions where there was a kind of certainty that has to do with the hegemony of normative European values.
Born in the UK of Jamaican and German parentage Sonia E Barrett grew up in Hong Kong, Zimbabwe, Cyprus and the UK. She studied literature at the University of St Andrews Scotland and her MFA at Transart Institute Berlin/New York.
Her work unpacks the boundaries between the Determined and the determining with a focus on race and gender, She makes sculptural works so she can run her hands alone the fissures and manifest strategies for multiple compatible existences and mourn.
Her sculptural practice includes place making with a view to assembling communities under the threat of climate to (Re) claim space as well as instituting permanently.
Sonia is a MacDowell, CCCADI NY, and Yale Mellon Artist/Practitioner Fellow and has been recognised by the Premio Ora prize, NY Art-Slant showcase for sculpture and the Neo Art Prize. She has exhibited by the National Gallery of Jamaica, 32 degrees East Gallery, Kampala, Uganda, the Heinrich Böll Institute Germany, the British Library, The Museum of Derby, and the Kunsthaus Nürnberg. Her work has been shown at a number of galleries including the OCCCA California, the NGBK Berlin, Tete Berlin, The Format Contemporary in Milan and Basel and the Rosenwald Wolf Gallery Philadelphia.
Her works and writings have been published in the International Review of African American Art, Black History 365 Journal, Kunstforum International, Protocollum, ELSE journal, British Arts Studies Journal, Tate Publishing, and the Contemporary & Platform. She is an initiator of the AIPCC in Southeast England.
Dr Errol Francis is artistic director and CEO of Culture&. Errol studied photography and fine art at Central Saint Martin’s, University of the Arts London. His doctoral research at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London focused on postcolonial artistic responses to museums.
Errol’s background in mental health activism has influenced his arts practice such as his role as head of arts at the Mental Health Foundation and his directing of the Anxiety Arts Festival 2014, Cyborgs 2019 and his work in the curatorial research group PS/Y.
Errol is currently content producer for the Culture Box research project at the University of Exeter which promotes social interaction and public health through the arts in the time of Covid-19 for people living with dementia in care homes. He is visiting lecturer at the University of Greenwich, Goldsmith’s University of London and Sotheby’s Institute of Art.
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Autograph is a place to see things differently. Since 1988, we have championed photography that explores issues of race, identity, representation, human rights and social justice, sharing how photographs reflect lived experiences and shape our understanding of ourselves and others.Donate Join our mailing list