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Digital Commissions

Anti-Apartheid, Now is our commissioning project that offers artists opportunities to draw on the legacy of the UK’s movement against apartheid (MAA).

During 2022, we commissioned seven global majority and intersectional artists and communities to explore and respond to lived experience of race-based injustice and imagine new futures all the while exploring the contemporary resonance of the heritage of the struggle against apartheid. These new artworks are currently hosted online, with the vision to also physically display a selection once the Centre of Memory and Learning at 28 Penton St, Islington opens. As the works are completed they will be made available for engagement through this webpage.

The project channels the legacy of the most powerful social justice movement of the 20th Century to inform how we look at pressing contemporary issues of inequality, injustice, and structural racism today.

We worked with a creative advisory panel which selected the seven artists for commissions and whose pieces encompass diverse interpretations on themes from MAA history for contemporary audiences. The project has been supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust and the London Borough of Islington’s Local Initiative Fund.

Mae Shummo, Lucia Medina Uriarte, Ektoras Arkomanis: Protea / Extraction

Protea / Extraction is an installation that reimagines a fragment of an early twentieth century colonial interior. It draws on two elements: a plant seed and a site of colonial oppression which share the name Protea and are related by the botanical and political histories of South Africa.

Tuesdae Houston, Francesca Matthys and June Yuen Ting “and when she calls for justice”

A choreographed and embodied commentary that invites the viewer to explore themes of migration, identity and the experience of political detainees, inspired by the life of anti-apartheid activist, Dulcie September, and the wider legacy of the struggle against apartheid.

Sondes Jelassi “ We Are Steve Biko”

An animation created using analogue and digital illustrations, digital collages and stop motion, which explores the influence of Steve Biko’s life and legacy through the reflections of a characterised member of the South African Student Organisation.

Radikal Queen: "Missing Histories: Bangwa Queen"

‘Missing Histories: Bangwa Queen’ is a digital installation by spoken word artist and poet Radkial Queen that reflects on stolen heritage, dehumanization, colonialism, the parasitic nature of western capitalism and de-centring white gaze. Image: an overlay of sepia map on ‘Bangwa Queen’ Musée Dapper Paris (3343).

Tina Ramos Ekongo Umfazi - Owesifazane, Vrou!

A series of portraits, in mixed-media, textile and acrylic on cardboard, celebrates five black and brown women who made an important - and often under-known - contribution to the fight for freedom during the South African liberation struggle.

Nefateri Asantewa “South African Flag”

A mixed media piece that responds to themes raised by the action of women during the 1956 March to Pretoria’s Union Buildings and invites solidarity with ongoing global gender inequality struggles.

Penificent “The Bombing of Penton Street”

Co-created with young people from Islington, Penificent’s graphic novel style comic strip commemorates the 40th anniversary of 28 Penton Street’s bombing by South African Apartheid-regime operatives.