Barby Asante

Declaration of Independence

A new artwork poster for London Underground stations on display from 6 March 2023, marks the start of a new commission titled Declaration of Independence, an ongoing project by London based artist Barby Asante.

Throughout spring and summer 2023 Asante will collaborate with workers at Transport for London on a new iteration of this seminal performative artwork, to create a new Declaration of Independence. This process will build up to a performance at Stratford Underground station in September 2023, with visual outcomes at Stratford, Bethnal Green and Notting Hill Gate.

Declaration of Independence brings together a group of Black and POC women and non-binary people into a space for conversation, writing, collective thinking, ritual and re-enactment towards a collective public performance.
Through a process of dialogue and writing, performative declarations are created that reveal stories, dreams and forgotten histories to articulate and imagine strategies and possibilities in a collective ritual of declaration.

Asante says: “We come together to reflect on how the political affects the personal and how cultural implications of historic declarations, policies and legislations impact on their lives; to consider the possibilities for collective actions for the future and to rethink our understanding of monumental moments in world history such as declarations of independence.”

The process of this project will also draw on research into the TfL photography archives connecting histories of black and non-white women workers to our current moment to reflect on how histories also inform the present.

This collaborative, performative and dialogic work will be Asante’s first major commission in public space and will draw on her ongoing commitment to the politics of place, space, memory and drawing on her research with Akan Adrinka symbology and principles to consider ways to undo the persistent legacies of coloniality.

Barby Asante is a London based artist, educator and researcher.  Her practice and research is concerned with the politics of place, space and the ever-present histories and legacies of slavery and colonialism.  Her recent projects include, To Make Love is to Re-Create Ourselves Over and Over Again: A Soliloquy to Heartbreak, Untitled, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, 2021; Declaration of Independence, Diaspora Pavillion, Venice, 2017, Library of Performing Rights, BALTIC, Gateshead 2019, Bergen Kusthall 2020, Brent Biennial, 2020; Black Togetherness as Lingua Franca with Amal Alhaag, Framer Framed, Amsterdam, 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning.  She has a PhD from the University of Westminster and is on the boards of the Women’s Art Library and 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning

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