In celebration of Africa Day 2021 on 25 May, John Hansard Gallery has erected three Pan African Flags designed by artist Larry Achiampong in three locations around Southampton: University of Southampton, Highfield Campus, Southampton City Council, Civic Centre, and Bargate Monument on the medieval city walls.
Africa Day is a globally recognised event that acknowledges the annual commemoration of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, presently recognised as the African Union (AU). The AU, comprised of 53-member states, has brought together the continent of Africa to collectively address challenges faced, such as armed conflict, climate change, and poverty.
This new flag, entitled Mothership (2021), is part of the PAN AFRICAN FLAGS FOR THE RELIC TRAVELLERS’ ALLIANCE series and forms part of Achiampong’s Relic Traveller, a multi-disciplinary project involving performance, audio, moving image and prose that builds upon a postcolonial perspective informed by technology, agency and the body, and narratives of migration.
The flags illustrate icons moving towards unity and equilibrium. The work does not frame Pan Africanism as a utopian vision of the African continent, but instead considers aspects of responsibility in relation to the hidden tremors of history. The chosen colours of green, black and red reflect its land, its people, and the struggles the continent has endured, respectively, with the field of yellow gold representing prosperity and a new day.
For Mothership, Achiampong has configured these colours into icons that are symbolic of “in praise, honour and respect of the centre of community; Black Womxn”.
PAN AFRICAN FLAGS FOR THE RELIC TRAVELLERS’ ALLIANCE: Mothership is part of John Hansard Gallery’s programme to mark Africa Day 2021.