Barby Asante is a London based artist, curator and educator who’s work explores place and identity through creating situations and spaces for dialogue, collective thinking, ritual and reenactment. Using archival material in the broadest sense, she is interested in breaking down the language of archive, not to insert or present alternatives to dominant narratives but to interrupt, interrogate and explore the effects and possibilities of the unheard and the missing.
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. Also Baldwin’s Nigger RELOADED (Iniva, Nottingham Contemporary, Framer Framed/ Art Rotterdam) with the London based collective sorryyoufeeluncomfortable, that uses 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 director of agency for agency a creative agency that works with contemporary artists and institutions through a intersectional socio political lens. She is also on the board of the Women’s Art Library and Associate Curator at 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning.
Image credits: As Always a Painful Declaration of Independence. For Ama. For Aba. For Charlotte and Adjoa: Intimacy and Distance, Diaspora Pavilion, Venice 2017. Photo by Jess Harrington