Larry Achiampong, PAN AFRICAN FLAGS FOR THE RELIC TRAVELLERS’ ALLIANCE (MOTION), 2018, installation image, John Hansard Gallery, 2020. Courtesy the artist and Copperfield London. Photo: Reece Straw

Larry Achiampong’s stunning PAN AFRICAN FLAGS FOR THE RELIC TRAVELLERS’ ALLIANCE (MOTION) (2018) currently adorn the facade of John Hansard Gallery.

This series of flags feature the Pan African colours of red, black, green and yellow-gold, that speak symbolically to various African diasporic identities. The colours green, black and red reflect Africa’s land, its people and the struggles the continent has endured, whilst the yellow-gold represents a new day and prosperity. The 54 stars overlaying the motif represent the 54 counties of Africa.

For Achiampong, this speculative project reflects upon the world’s social and political climate, particularly the rise of nationalism in the global West and the tensions surrounding political occurrences such as the Brexit 2016 referendum, when the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Whilst in contrast in Africa, the African Union’s African passport programme of 2016, indicate the continent’s potential for opening up its boarders across a unified Africa.   

The PAN AFRICAN FLAGS FOR THE RELIC TRAVELLERS’ ALLIANCE project forms part of a larger body of the work Relic Traveller, an expansive multi-disciplinary undertaking manifesting in performance, audio, moving image and prose. Developed over multiple locations – including Somerset House, Westminster Underground Station, Whitechapel Art Gallery – this project builds upon a postcolonial perspective informed by technology, agency and the body, and narratives of migration.

PAN AFRICAN FLAGS FOR THE RELIC TRAVELLERS’ ALLIANCE (MOTION) was part of Achiampong’s recent exhibition When the Sky Falls, 8 February – 21 March 2020, that sadly had to close early on 14 March due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the flags have now been extended and will coincide with Larry Achiampong’s new film commission, Reliquary 2, launching on 1 October 2020 until 31 January 2021.

Larry Achiampong is represented by Copperfield Gallery, London.

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