Art on the Underground Staff Writer in Residence at St James’s Park

Ayesha Kundi
24 November 2022

Stooped in Courage’ is the second poem from the Art on the Underground Writer in Residence Ayesha Kundi. The writing is inspired by two temporary artworks exhibited in London Underground stations: Rhea Storr at Heathrow T4, Notting Hill Gate, Bethnal Green and Stratford Underground stations and Shanti Panchal at Brixton Underground station.

‘Stooped in Courage’ is installed on the platform of St James’s Park Underground Station as an artwork poster, launched November 24th 2022 and on view for one year.

The poem addresses identity and personal belonging in public space – how bodies are read, how we feel and the social and political pressure on diasporic experience and visibility in the UK.

Ayesha Kundi is a London-based writer, artist and social media creator and has worked as a Customer Service Assistant for 7 years at Tfl. Ayesha’s work is inspired by her personal experiences, her passion for reading, contemporary art forms and a deep love for her cultural heritage.

The Art on the Underground Writer in Residence is a creative opportunity for a TfL staff member to develop their writing by working with Art on the Underground.

The Writer in Residence programme will highlight and amplify the creative voices within TfL, creating engaging responses to Art on the Underground artists and artworks throughout 2022.

Stooped in Courage – Ayesha Kundi

You tell me stories
Of black and white
Of brown and pale
Of people in disguise

Are we not
Flesh and bones
Blood and stones
Stooped in courage

Our prospects
Lie in a higher power
Our power

Are we the children
Of a lesser God
Or just the
Of our

For you
We are strangers
For you
We don’t belong

But your home was built
On our blood
On our sacrifice
On our two-toned tongue

So yes
We do belong
More than.