Barby Asante

by 14 November 2019

Barby Asante

Barby Asante is a London based artist, curator, educator and occasional DJ.

Her work is concerned with the politics of place, space, identity and the histories and legacies of colonialism making work that is collaborative, performative and dialogic. She has created works that consider migration, safe spaces to gather in cities antagonistic to ones presence and how one maps the self as a contributor to narratives of society, culture and politics.

Her artistic practice explores the archival, makes propositions, collects and maps stories and contributions of people of colour using storytelling, collective actions, and ritual, to excavate, unearth and interrogate given narratives.

She resists the idea that the stories of “Other-ness” are alternatives to dominant given narratives, but are interruptions, utterances, presences that exist within, that are invisible, unheard, missing or ignored. By making these narratives visible, asking questions and making proposals she is interested in what these possibilities offer as we examine our present and envision our futures.

Asante’s recent projects include; The South London Black Archive (Peckham Platform/ Tate Modern) a collecting project mapping black music and memories in South London, through an invitation to audiences and local people to create that archive together. Baldwin’s Nigger RELOADED (Iniva, Nottingham Contemporary, Framer Framed/ Art Rotterdam) with the London based collective sorryyoufeeluncomfortable, using Horace Ove’s 1968 film Baldwin’s Nigger as a start for a contemporary reading of Baldwin’s provocation, through a reflective re-enactment ritual of transcribing, rewriting and re-staging the original event.

Her current artistic research As Always a Painful Declaration of Independence : For Ama. For Aba. For Charlotte and Adjoa, is being realised in a series of project episodes. The project explores the social, cultural and political agency of women of colour, as they navigate historic legacies of colonialism, independence, migration and the contemporary global socio political climate, through performative actions that engage with historic spaces, archives and collections.

Asante has also taught on fine art programmes in London, Berlin, Gothenburg and Rotterdam. She is co founder of agency for agency a collaborative agency concerned with ethics, intersectionality and education in the contemporary arts who are mentors to the sorryyoufeeluncomfortable collective. Asante is also on the board of the Women’s Art Library and Associate Curator at 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning.

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