Elephant and Castle-based, non-profits arts organisation Flat 70 has today launched a “walkable exhibition” of work by Black visual artists taking over billboards around London. Featuring work by Adama Jalloh, David Alabo and Sierra Nallo, among others, the public art showcase will feature on 15 JCDecaux digital screens across the city for two weeks, from Flat 70’s home neighbourhood of Elephant & Castle to Southbank Tower and Shoreditch Showcase. Visitors and passersby will be able to scan a QR code found on each digital screen, allowing them to view a map of the walking tour of the outdoor gallery.
Other artists featured include Ajamu X, Heather Agyepong, Chiizii, Hanson Akatti, Kunti Dabo, Jacob V Joyce, Chris Adu, Hamed Maiye, Lucy Adjoa Armah (Saman Archive), Akeelah Bertram, Ethel Tawe, and Edward Lobo. They were selected from Flat 70’s network, representing a range of career levels from emerging to established names, and geographies, “some from around the corner and others from around the world”.
Flat 70 was founded in February 2020 by siblings Anthony and Senam Badu in response to the regeneration of Elephant and Castle and the need to hold space for communities of colour. The Reclaim Space campaign sets out with a mission to celebrate African and Caribbean artists, platforming their craft and the important space they occupy as a source of inspiration for society.
Anthony Badu says in a statement that Black artists “have had it rough in a year marked by uprising, trauma and a clear need for healing and justice. With fewer opportunities to exhibit, collaborate and connect with the public, a sustainable practice is threatened for all but the most fortunate artists”. Therefore to place their work on display in local communities is “therapeutic” he adds; “we see this as a collaboration full of potential and one which we hope will one day reach a national and international scale.”
The Badu family grew up on the infamous Aylesbury housing estate, which was “constantly misrepresented and is gradually disappearing,” Senam Badu says. Flat 70 was their door number, which they saved before the estate was demolished and fixed to their new arts space. “We lost the keys to our childhood home and in the same month established Flat 70 as a space to facilitate exchange between the emerging and existing community. We see anyone willing to put in the work to support our project as family and together, we can make a new home that celebrates arts and culture.”
GalleryFlat 70: Reclaim Space exhibition
Copyright © Adama Jalloh, 2021