For the fifth edition of the pocket Night Tube map commission series, British artist Jade Montserrat, created a pencil and watercolour work on paper. The work draws on the artist’s long-standing text-based series, examining individual experiences of structural racism in Britain, shaping our understanding and experience of the world we live in.
The map was accompanied by a poster work titled ‘”My anger became my motivation”: Baroness Lawrence on Grenfell’, displayed in the 270 London Underground stations and a limited edition print, ‘In memory of Sarah Reed’. Both titles directly reference current incidents of exploitation in the UK.
For the commission, each work was hand drawn using watercolour and pencil on paper. Deeply material and poetic the map reads, ‘My dear friend, I know that you and you alone possess peace’ and in the poster ‘Perpetual renewal felt as a triumph for life’. The sentences are drawn in text boxes that flow across multiple lines allowing the words to proceed vertically rather than horizontally, akin to a poem. Collated from the artist’s research, they recall both the employment of slogans in the banners of trade unions and political campaigns and soundbites from social media, our contemporary method for consuming and disseminating information.
As the works circulated and spread in their hundreds of thousands throughout the city, Montserrat prompted a call to action, to rethink our notions of cultural diversity and political freedom.