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Declaration of Independence: A Performance by Barby Asante

Art on the Underground, London, United Kingdom is set to present an exciting seminal performative work, Declaration of Independence, featuring multifaceted London-based artist, educator, and researcher, Barby Asante. This newly commissioned iteration will take place at Stratford Tube station on Sunday 17 September 2023.

Image: Barby Asante

At its core, the Declaration of Independence prompts reflection on how declarations, policies, and legislations impact our daily lives. Asante leads this ongoing project, which unites women and non-binary people of colour, recognising their pivotal role in the pursuit of equity and social justice.

As part of the commission, Asante delved into the photography archives at the London Transport Museum to uncover historical images of women of colour employed in various roles across TfL's history. These archived images play an integral role in three large-scale visual artworks installed at Stratford, Bethnal Green, and Notting Hill Green Tube stations, where they engage in dialogue with words from the 'Declaration.'

Central to the project is the collaboration with TfL staff, alongside other ongoing collaborators to produce a collective script, a new Declaration of Independence for 2023, which will be performed to an audience of thousands at Stratford Tube station. Through the newly written and performed declaration and the station artworks, the work sheds light on black diaspora narratives of non-binary people and women, underscoring the impact of historical divisions of labour on these narratives.

Collective performance 'Declaration of Independence', Barby Asante – at the Re-Imagine Europe

In addition to the TFL staff participating in the project, Asante invites collaborators into the development of the work, including Hannah Catherine Jones who is an artist and musician; sociologist and Black Feminist, Gail Lewis; writer and psychotherapist Foluke Taylor; artist Baby Blue and visual artist and music selecta, Innavisions.

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Declaration of Independence: A Performance by Barby Asante

August 2, 2023

Fredrick Favour

1 min read