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Art at the Archive brings together three artists to produce a new series of artwork which respond to, reflect on, or is inspired by our Unforgotten Lives exhibition.

The Inspiration: Unforgotten Lives exhibition

Unforgotten Lives unveils the stories of Londoners of African, Caribbean, Asian and Indigenous heritage who lived and worked in the city between 1560 and 1860; their experiences etched into the very fabric of London’s archives.

Our exhibition is a tapestry of these lives - weaving together vibrant threads of love, family, ambition, and resilience, juxtaposed with the stark realities of discrimination and injustice.

The Power of Art in Archival Spaces – Why Art at the Archive?

Archives typically lack the voices of everyday individuals; instead, they primarily focus on discussing people in a formal, institutionalised manner. Art, on the other hand, provides a means to respond and imbue the official narratives with the previously unheard voices of the marginalised. Archival documents can look visually dull and be difficult to engage with. Art offers an opportunity to humanise these sources, put a face to the record and bring to life the stories of people of colour across time. Art can also provide an opportunity to critically and creatively fill archival gaps and silences and offer new ways to counter harmful historical misrepresentations.

Inviting Artists to Respond

The Art at the Archive project was borne out of a desire to bring the transformative power of art into our archival spaces through commissioning creative responses to our Unforgotten Lives exhibition. Our call for artists from all walks of life led to the selection of our three chosen artists who each represent diverse backgrounds and create within a range of mediums.

Introducing our talented and creative artists

  • Annie-Marie Akussah
  • Tara Jerome-Bernabé
  • Elyssa Rider

Unforgotten Lives exhibition

Free exhibition - runs until 29 March 2024

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