Project

Amplify — Stranger in the Village: Afro European Matters

2021 - 2022

Supported by the Art Fund

What

A new commissioning project considering contemporary Afrodiasporic experiences in Europe 

Who

We commissioned three contemporary artists to create new work

Why

To support artists practice and address
the representation of black women artists in UK collections


ABOUT THE project

Supported by the Art Fund, Autograph has commissioned interdisciplinary artists Jeannette Ehlers, Sasha Huber and Mónica de Miranda to create new work responding to an open-ended brief emphasising the experience of Afrodiasporic communities in Europe, identity formations and migration,  freedom of movement, and ideas of care during the Covid-19 pandemic and post-Brexit. 

The project's subtitle ‘Stranger in the Village’ references African-American novelist James Baldwin’s seminal essay about his experience of alienation in Switzerland during the early 1950s.

Each artist commission will be contextualised with newly-published artist conversations, and by inviting three writers to produce a short essay about one of works created. The artworks will enter Autograph's collection of photography – which dates from the 1860s to the present day and has a unique focus on black experiences and politics of representation – and be made available for loan to cultural institutions.

Amplify — Stranger in the Village: Afro European Matters is led by Renée Mussai, Autograph's Senior Curator / Head of Curatorial and Collections. The project has been funded by the Art Fund's Respond and Reimagine Grant programme.

panel discussion

Through A Different Lens: Commissioning Artists, Diversifying Collections

Online event, 16 May 2022
This event brought together artists and curators in an open conversation about how we can work together towards diversifying our national collections and support artists in the making, and placing, of new works. We will be uploading a recording shortly.

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what we have accomplished so far

3 artists supported

Commissioned to create new work during this critical time

20+ new artworks created

Photography, film and more

3 writers supported

Commissioned to produce texts as part of the project

1 online event

With a panel of acclaimed artists and international curators

coming up

online launch

The artist commissions and texts will be published on Autograph's website

works accessioned

Works from the commissions will become part of Autograph's collection of photography

Exhibitions

Select works from the commissions will be on display in forthcoming exhibitions

collections stories

Autograph will share how we have worked to place key works in public art collections in the UK and internationally

limited editions

Fundraiser edition prints will be available to purchase, supporting Autograph's work

about the artists

Jeannette Ehlers

is a Copenhagen-based artist of Danish and Trinidadian descent whose practice takes shape experimentally across photography, video, installation, sculpture and performance. She graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2006.

Ehlers’ work often makes use of self-representation and image manipulation to engender decolonial hauntings and disruptions. These manifestations attend to the material and affective afterlives of Denmark’s colonial impact in the Caribbean and participation in the Transatlantic Slave Trade—realities that have all too often been rendered forgettable by dominant history-writing.

In the words of author Lesley-Ann Brown, ‘Ehlers reminds all who participate in or gaze at her work that history is not in the past’. In her conceptual art practice, Ehlers insists on the possibility for empowerment and healing, honoring legacies of resistance in the African diaspora. She merges the historical, the collective and the rebellious with the familial, the bodily and the poetic.

She has exhibited internationally and was shortlisted to create a national monument to The Windrush Generation at London Waterloo Station 2022. Ehlers is also the co-creator of the public sculpture project I Am Queen Mary (2018; in collaboration with La Vaughn Belle).  Selected exhibitions include Dak'Art – The Dakar Biennale of Contemporary African Art, Senegal; Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), USA; Autograph ABP, Rivington Place, London, UK; Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Toronto, Canada; National Gallery of Denmark (SMK), Copenhagen, Denmark; Nuuk Art Museum, Greenland; Berliner Herbstsalon, Berlin, Germany;  Oslo Art Society, Oslo, Norway;  Ford Foundation Gallery, NYC, USA; Savy Contemporary Berlin, Germany; The Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki, Finland; Canton Gallery, Guangzhou, China; Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), Los Angeles, USA; The International Slavery Museum, Liverpool, UK; Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland; The Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center, Copenhagen, Denmark; Pérez Art Museum, Miami, USA; and El Museo Del Barrio, New York, USA.

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Sasha Huber

Sasha Huber (1975, Zurich, CH/FI) is a Helsinki-based, multidisciplinary visual artist-researcher of Swiss-Haitian heritage. Huber's work is primarily concerned with the politics of memory and belonging, particularly in relation to colonial residue left in the environment. Sensitive to the subtle threads connecting history and the present, she uses and responds to archival material within a layered creative practice that encompasses performance-based interventions, video, photography, and collaborations.

Huber frequently reclaims – aware of its symbolic significance – the compressed-air staple gun as an artistic ‘weapon’, tapping into its potential to renegotiate unequal power dynamics. She is known for her artistic research contribution to the Demounting Louis Agassiz campaign which aims to dismantle the glaciologist’s lesser-known but contentious racist heritage. Huber also often works in a creative partnership with artist Petri Saarikko with whom she initiated the long-term project Remedies Universe.

Huber holds an MA in visual culture from the Aalto University and is presently undertaking a practice-based PhD at Zurich University of the Arts. Huber has had numerous solo presentations, artist residencies and participated in international exhibitions and festivals, including the 56th Venice Biennial in 2015. In 2021 Huber’s solo exhibition tour You Name It began at Kunstinstituut Melly in Rotterdam and continues to The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto; Autograph in London in 2022/23; and Turku Art Museum in Finland in 2023. In 2018 Huber was the recipient of the State Art Award in the category visual arts given by the Arts Promotion Center Finland.

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Mónica de Miranda

is an Angolan Portuguese visual artist, filmmaker and researcher who works and lives between Lisbon and Luanda. Her work – which incorporates photography, video, drawing, sculpture and installation – investigates postcolonial politics of geography, history, and subjectivity in relation to Africa and its diaspora through a critical spatial arts practice. Often conceptual and research-based, De Miranda is interested in the convergence of socio-political narratives, gender, and memory at the boundaries between fiction and documentary.

De Miranda is affiliated with the University of Lisbon where she is engaged on projects dealing with ethical and cultural aspects of contemporary migration movements linked to lusophone Africa, such as Post-Archive: Politics of Memory, Place and Identity, and Visual Culture, Migration, Globalization and Decolonization.  She holds post and undergraduate degrees in art and arts education from Camberwell College of Arts and the Institute of Education in London, and a doctorate in Visual Art from the University of Middlesex. De Miranda is a co-founder of the artist residency project Triangle Network in Portugal and in 2014, she founded Hangar – Center for Artistic Research in Lisbon

Her works have been exhibited internationally, including at the 12th Berlin Biennale (2022); Bienalsur – International Contemporary Art Biennial from the South (2020); Houston FotoFest Biennial (2020); Lubumbashi Biennale (2020); Dakar Biennale (2016); Bamako Encounters African Biennale of Photography (2016); and the 14th Architecture Biennale of Venice (2014) as well as in museums and galleries such as the Pera Museum in Istambul (2017) and Caixa Cultural in Rio de Janeiro (2017). Her work is represented in public collections including The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT), The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Lisbon, Portugal.

You can follow the artist on Instagram and see more of De Miranda's work on her website.

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the commissions on display

Mónica de Miranda: The Island

Free exhibition at Autograph, London
24 Jun - 22 Oct 2022
De Miranda's Amplify commission will be on display in a new exhibition, contemplating the complex experiences of Afrodiasporic lives, relationships to the land and colonial pasts

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Sasha Huber: You Name It

Free exhibition at Autograph, London
November 2022 - March 2023

Autograph is presenting a solo exhibition of Sasha Huber's work, featuring her commission from Amplify

with art fund support

Banner image: Mónica de Miranda, Dressage [detail], from The Island. © the artist. Courtesy of / commissioned by Autograph, 2021. Supported by Art Fund.

1) Zanele Muholi, Bayephi III, Constitution Hill, Johannesburg, 2017 [detail]. Commissioned by Autograph © and courtesy Zanele Muholi. 2) Jeannette Ehlers. 3) Sasha Huber. 4) Mónica de Miranda. 5) Mónica de Miranda, Whistle For the Wind [detail], from The Island. © the artist. Courtesy of / commissioned by Autograph, 2021. Supported by Art Fund. 6) Sasha Huber, The Firsts: Tilo Frey [detail]. Courtesy of / commissioned by Autograph, 2021. Supported by Art Fund.

Discover more: 7) Ingrid Pollard, The Valentine Days, commissioned by Autograph. 9) Dexter McLean, Kamahl [detail]. From the commission Untitled, 2020. © and courtesy the artist, commissioned by Autograph for Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other. 10) Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Adebiyi, [detail], 1989. © the artist. Courtesy of Autograph, London.