Public art trail reflects on colonialism, slave trade in UK

LONDON (DPA): A new art trail explores the impact of the slave trade, pondering colonial histories in seven cities across Britain.

More than 100 artist-designed globe sculptures appear in Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London and Swansea from today/tomorrow and will be free to view by the public until Oct. 31.

Forty-two of the designs were previewed in Dean’s Yard at Westminster Abbey in London on Thursday for one day only before being dispersed throughout the city.

The project aims to explore the U.K.’s relationship with the transatlantic slave trade, its impact on society and how action can be taken to make racial justice a reality.

The design of the globes explores themes including the culture of Africa before the slave trade and an ode to the Windrush generation, people arriving in Britain between 1948 and 1971 from Caribbean countries.

All trails in the seven cities will be connected by a digital platform that allows visitors to explore the collection and the history it reflects.

It has been created by the arts organization The World Reimagined, of which singer Michelle Gayle is a co-founder.

Gayle said: “We know that the greatest force for progress and justice is people coming together in understanding, in conversation and in action.

“That is what we have seen so far in the artists, activists, schools, community groups, businesses and councils who have made The World Reimagined possible.

“This thought-provoking, challenging and inspiring works of art that are now transforming the streets of our host cities invite us to understand it is not ‘Black history’ – it’s all of our history.

“All of us have a role to play in the work of making racial justice a reality. So, we hope you will explore the trails and join the conversation.”

The trail will also feature more than 170 small globes created by schools that have taken part in The World Reimagined learning program.

Among the more than 100 artists who are involved are Nicola Green, Lakwena Maciver, Vashti Harrison and Yinka Shonibare, who devised the sculpture shape.

The collection has been created with a number of partners, including Professor Kehinde Andrews, the British Library and the International Slavery Museum.

The trails are part of a broader program encouraging and supporting conversations around racial justice.