Amplify — Stranger in the Village: Afro European Matters

2021 - 2022

Supported by the Art Fund


A commissioning project considering contemporary Afrodiasporic experiences in Europe


We commissioned three contemporary artists to create new work


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 has been contextualised with a newly published in-conversation, and by inviting a writer to produce a short essay about the work created. The artworks have entered 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 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.

Time Travels in Agency, Advocacy and Acquisition

Autograph's director, Professor Mark Sealy, traces thirty years of Autograph's advocacy work and its impact on national and international collections


Watch back: Through A Different Lens

A conversation considering how we can work together towards diversifying our national collections and support artists in the making, and placing, of new work


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


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

online launch

The artist commissions and texts are free to view  on Autograph's website

1 online event

With a panel of acclaimed artists and international curators

works accessioned

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

limited editions

Fundraiser edition prints are available to purchase, to support Autograph's work

the commissions

Jeannette Ehlers
We’re Magic. We’re Real #3 (From sunset to sunrise) (2020-2021)

Jeannette Ehlers’ poetic series of photographs examines hair as an important marker of Pan-African identity and connectedness. View the commission


The Ties That Bind
Karen Alexander reflects on affirmations of black female presence and agency in Jeannette Ehlers’s commission

We're Magic, We're Real: Practising Connectivity
The artist in conversation with Autograph's senior curator Renée Mussai

Sasha Huber
The Firsts – Tilo Frey (2021)

A new commission honouring Cameroonian-Swiss politician Tilo Frey (1923-2008), who campaigned for women’s rights and suffrage in Switzerland. View the commission


Afropean Remedial Gestures (Part I): Introducing Tilo Frey
The artist in conversation with Autograph's senior curator Renée Mussai

The Politics of Memory and Belonging in Sasha Huber’s Action Portraits
Dr Jareh Das responds to Huber's commission. Forthcoming in November

Mónica de Miranda
The Island (2021)

Artist Mónica de Miranda contemplates the complex experiences of Afrodiasporic lives, relationships to the land and colonial pasts. View the commission


The Fighter in the Looking Glass
Taous R. Dahmani considers the use of mirrors and reflections in The Island

Ecologies of Care - Birthing Afrodiasporic Ecofeminist Futures
The artist in conversation with Autograph's senior curator Renée Mussai

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; Savvy 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

is a Helsinki-based, multidisciplinary visual artist-researcher of Swiss-Haitian heritage. 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 the Arts Promotion Centre Finland awarded Huber the State Art Award in the category visual arts and in 2022 she received a multi-year artist grant.

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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

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

Read more and book tickets

Sasha Huber: You Name It

Autograph, London
November 2022 - March 2023

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

Read more and book tickets

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.

Commissions: 1) Jeannette Ehlers, We're Magic. We're Real. #3 (From Sunset to Sunrise). #4 [detail], 2021-22. © the artist. Commissioned by Autograph for Amplify – Stranger in the Village. Afro European Matters, (2021) Supported by Art Fund. 2) Sasha Huber, film still from The Firsts - Tilo Frey, 2021. Video music by Brandy Butler, ‘Before The Tide’ Commissioned by Autograph. 3) Mónica de Miranda, Whistle for the Wind [detail], from The Island, 2021. Commissioned by Autograph. Supported by Art Fund.

1) Jeannette Ehlers, photo: Roar Studio, Milan. 2) Sasha Huber. 3) Mónica de Miranda. 4) Mónica de Miranda: The Island exhibition at Autograph. 24 June - 22 October 2022. Curated by Renée Mussai and Mark Sealy. Photograph by Kate Elliot. 5) 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. 8) Mónica de Miranda, Whistle for the Wind, from The Island, 2021. Commissioned by Autograph. Supported by Art Fund. 9) Dexter McLean, Kamahl [detail]. From the commission Untitled, 2020. © and courtesy the artist, commissioned by Autograph for Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other.