While War Inna Babylon was originally scheduled to open in May 2020 – the delay due to Covid-19 – has inadvertently made this the most timely exhibition it could possibly be.
In light of events over the past year, that have shown how little value is placed on Black lives – the Covid-19 Public Health England Review, BLM demonstrations, the Sewell washout, the increased use of police violence, and stop and search procedures against members of the Black community – we view this as the perfect time to focus on grassroots activism in Black frontline communities across the UK; which have been at the forefront of resisting state oppression and creating unfounded change for racial justice since the 1970s.
The Institute of Contemporary Arts reopens on July 6th with War Inna Babylon: The Community’s Struggle for Truths and Rights, an exhibition curated by London-based racial advocacy and community organisation, Tottenham Rights, Kamara Scott and Rianna Jade Parker.
Ten years on from the UK-wide riots sparked by the police killing of Mark Duggan, this exhibition shines a light on the vast range of collective actions, resistance and grassroots activism undertaken by Black communities across the U.K in response to over seven decades of societal and institutional racism.
Using the ‘symbolic location’ of Tottenham, a neighbourhood that has received much attention in recent years due to its history of racial conflicts and heavy-handed policing; this exhibition combines archival material, documentary photography, film and state-of-the art 3D technology to ‘act as a window to the past and as a mirror for our present-day social climate’.
War Inna Babylon will chronicle the impact of various forms of state violence and institutional racism targeted at Britain’s Black communities since the mass arrival-upon-invitation of West Indian migrants in the late 1940s.
The exhibition will include original tributes from victims’ families, case studies of the controversial 'sus’ (suspected person) laws and the Gangs’ Matrix and highlights legal developments that have resulted from Black justice campaigns.
War Inna Babylon will also present a new investigation into the killing of Mark Duggan by Forensic Architecture
The exhibition, the first of its kind to accurately assess the conditions of Black lives across Britain, will be accompanied by an extensive public programme presented both in Tottenham and at the ICA that will include film screenings, community educational groups, talks, cultural events, performances, and a digital presentation focusing on the interrelation between artificial intelligence (AI) and racism.
More information on how to book tickets will be shared with you in June.
This exhibition is part of an ICA programme dedicated to racial justice, social justice and liveable futures for all, with programme highlights including the return of the ICA’s Artists Film Club; a week-long convening dedicated to the experimental writing of M. NourbeSe Philip; and Dykegeist, a choreographic work by Eve Stainton and Mica Levi. See more on the ICA’s programme here.