Black History Month: Digital art project brings anti-apartheid legacy to London|

Black History Month: Digital art project brings anti-apartheid legacy to London|


kagement and Black history within the UK should be year-round, the artist said when a new digital artwork was released in London.

The initiative, called Anti-Apartheid, Now, is part of the Anti-Apartheid Heritage Center for Learning & Memory’s effort to educate Londoners about the legacy of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, and part of the UK inside it.

It has commissioned seven artists, all of whom are based in the UK but come from many cultures around the world, which it describes as Black, Brown, Asian, second or mixed heritage, Indigenous in the global south, and/or those who have been designated as a ‘minor tribe’.

Currently being developed by Liliesleaf Trust UK, the center plans to open in April 2024 to coincide with the anniversary of the first democratic elections in South Africa.

An art project is being launched this month, called ‘Umfazi, Umfazi, Vrou!’ focuses on the role that women in Africa played in the anti-apartheid movement.

Artist Tina Ramos Ekongo spoke to the Evening Standard about the women she chose to portray: “Usually, women are at home, cooking and taking care of the children. We have the right to vote, we have a say in what happens in our countries. But I think that the way these women changed things or how Western society saw them helped a lot. For example, Winnie Mandela raised her voice.

“Everyone knows about her in South Africa, a very strong woman, and to have that role at that time is amazing. I grew up in Africa and I was told that being a singer is not a good choice. I it’s different from me – I’m speaking openly, I’m an artist and I fight for women’s rights. They have a special role in the anti-apartheid movement. I didn’t want to make figures of Black people in the West but to make figures of Black people of Africa.

Tina, a Spanish-Equatorial Guinean, who lives in North West England, learned about the project through an Instagram post, and decided to picture five female supporters with Brown.

Her portraits are of Amina Cachalia, Annie Silinga, Winnie Madikizela Mandela, Rahima Moosa and Ida Mntwana, painted on cardboard, which she says portrays the (mis)idea of ​​Black women in of the country.

Tina’s artwork: ‘Umfazi, Feminina, Vrou!’

/ Anti-Apartheid Heritage Centre

“The idea is to have an African fabric in the background. I’m using cardboard because when I first started painting on it, I felt that Black women were misrepresented in media and art, so I painted them on it.” the things you can paint are trash, but I give the property value by painting Black. women in it. So, it’s a different perspective,” he said.

Her paintings are in mixed media acrylic, African fabric and collage on cardboard, and depict women wearing clothing and accessories, identifying them as “black women of handsome and active”, who may not have been looked down upon in Western societies.

Although the seven artists who were sent did not need extensive knowledge of the anti-discrimination movement, the producer of this project, Matthew Hanh helps them to ensure that their work informs the history it responds to.

The first episode, released earlier this year, responded to the Penton Street bombing, which was the headquarters of the African National Congress Party.

Caroline Kamana, Director of the Liliesleaf Trust UK said: “The creative response is to pay both but on ongoing social issues. More importantly, to link that to real life experience, which is something Tina was ae ama. Tina’s commission will start this month.”

“The brief for his commission was introduced in reference to Black History Month, but the word ‘Month’ was omitted because we wholeheartedly believe that black history is part of human history. everyone and it should be celebrated more than on a particular day. month.”

We combine the release date with the fact that there should be 365 days a year for engagement with Black Heritage in the UK. Tina’s response was uniquely powerful.

“We felt that the clarification of women, especially those who were part of the movement, was a very important thing to do because women’s voices were usually deleted or excluded from the narrative that story. We were even more pleased with the women that Tina wanted to focus on in her work. Some stories have not been widely heard, certainly in the UK context or have been poorly told. ”

Caroline hopes that the project, together with the other activities of the center, opens up the opportunity for people to learn and reflect on this history: “There are really many opportunities, especially for young people, to explore female role models during the war. against discrimination.”

“One of the purposes of this project, especially Tina, is to provide tools as a way for dialogue to happen.”

“We want to encourage young people to look more broadly than the usual figures that appear at this time of year, and not limit them in any way, but the figures of Mary Seacole and Rosa Parks, who who are good examples, but perhaps we are often heralded as people to learn from, when we would like to raise the profile of women who were very important in their detention in the struggle against apartheid and whose stories have not been I heard them.”

The group also worked with young people from Upward Bound, a Saturday school run by Islington Council, London Metropolitan University and graphic design agency, Penificent, to create a comic strip about the war.

“They had very little knowledge of the struggle against apartheid because it is not taught in schools as part of the regular curriculum, which is partly due to the changing a colonial history lesson,” said Caroline.

The project team tracks its progress through surveys and discussion groups. Publicly funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, the Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust and Islington Borough’s Initiative Fund.

A photo of Tina can be found here.

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