Somerset House’s Latest Initiative Invites you to Explore the History of Black British Art
In line with recent industry efforts to confront racial inequalities following the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer, comes a new interactive platform focused on nurturing Black history and inspiring change. With support from Art Fund and Pinterest, Somerset House’s Young Producers collective presents its inaugural project dubbed Decentralise, delving deep into gallery’s history of Black British art.
For those who don’t already know, Somerset House’s Young Producers collective offers underrepresented creatives in the cultural sector support in developing their practice. It launched in October of last year as the newest addition to Somerset House’s Engagement and Skills programme, and consists of six emerging creatives between the age of 18 and 30, based in London.
Working closely with Comuzi – an innovative design studio and Somerset House Studios resident – to co-produce an informative digital platform, the project forms a part of the art centre’s recent Anti-Racism Pledge. By committing to conducting and making available new research into Somerset House’s social history, Decentralise comes into being.
With just the click of a button, enter an interactive world where you can play around and experiment with 16 key objects from the Somerset House archives – all of which engage with afro-centric themes and narratives. Think Afro-Nowism, Afrofuturism, Political and Disobedient art. From exhibitions past comes a compelling collection of illustrated objects from Get Up, Stand Up Now (2019), Return of the Rude Boy (2014) and 2026: Utopian Voices Here & Now (2016), inspired by leading Black creatives Gaika, Richard Rawlins, Althea McNish and David Hammons.
Using the illustrated objects as your medium, you can design an artwork within the site while you navigate the themes embedded within – particularly how each is associated with what it means to be Black and British. And if you feel like it, you can save your work to the Decentralise archive for the chance to have your creations shared via Somerset House’s social media channels. This is a project that invites you to be your own artist, so get ready to create, educate, build, and explore.
You can explore Somerset House’s ‘Decentralise’ here.