Turner Contemporary to present first major solo exhibition by British-Ghanaian artist Larry Achiampong – The Isle Of Thanet News
A game room and feature film will be part of British-Ghanaian artist Larry Achiampong’s first major solo exhibition at Turner Contemporary this spring.
The Wayfinder exhibition, which will also be on view at MK Gallery, Milton Keynes and BALTIC, Newcastle, will include the newly commissioned film WayFinder, which follows a young girl’s journey through England.
Achiampong also curated an exhibition of paintings by JMW Turner and collaborated with Turner Contemporary to create a playroom.
Achiampong works with cinema, sculpture, installation, sound, collage, music and performance. Drawing on popular culture and its communal and personal heritage, her work explores post-colonial and post-digital identity and deeply rooted inequalities in contemporary society.
WayFinder is Achiampong’s most ambitious film to date. Set in a pandemic, it follows the Wanderer, a young girl played by Perside Rodrigues, on a fearless journey through England. Traveling from North to South, she crosses different regions, cities and landscapes, encountering people, stories and situations on her way. Through six chapters, including ‘The North’, ‘The Great Smoke’ and ‘The Kingdom of the East’, the film examines social and economic exclusion, belonging and displacement, cultural heritage and the sense of home.
Starting at Hadrian’s Wall, it explores locations ranging from a housing estate in Wolverhampton to the E. Pellicci cafe in Bethnal Green, passing through the deserted National Gallery at night, until finally reaching the sea at Margate.
WayFinder draws on British traditions of travel and exploration to reflect on division and crisis, the history of empire and inequality and asks who is allowed to belong.
The film contains poetic voice-over narratives, true vox pop testimonials, field recordings and an original orchestral score composed by Achiampong. It features former athlete Anita Neil, who was Britain’s first black Olympian, actor and musician Mataio Austen Dean, and voice-overs by Ma Toshie and Russell Tovey, among others.
WayFinder will be shown inside an installation of a giant map of the UK divided into parts. Inspired by This Morning’s floating UK weather map, the map can be sat on and explored by visitors.
The exhibition will also include the largest UK presentation of Achiampong’s Relic Traveler project.
An installation will integrate the five Relic films and explore colonialism, capitalism and globalization.
Other film, sound and collage works will also be included, such as Achiampong’s Glyth collages where the faces of each black person in family photos have been replaced with cubist-like circles and red lips in reference to the experiences. growing racism in the East. London, the Robertson’s Golliwog mascot still in circulation until 2002, and the Guy Fawkes mask from Alan Moore’s V For Vendetta comic strip.
Along with his exhibition, Achiampong organized an exhibition of paintings by JMW Turner. He selected a group of oil paintings, watercolours, etchings and sketchbooks, mostly from Turner’s UK tours and including places featured in WayFinder.
As part of the exhibition, Turner Contemporary will present numerous video games that have influenced Achiampong’s work, for example; Ico, Journey, Inside, Legend of Zelda and Ori and the Blind Forest. The game room will include playable consoles, a workshop area, a stage for discussions and game soundtracks. The space will be free to access.
In collaboration with BAFTA Young Game Designers, The Prince’s Trust and Into Games, the gallery will offer game design workshops and talks for families and schools
Larry Achiampong said, “This project is a poignant moment for me, not only professionally and as a filmmaker, but also personally. It felt very important and necessary, especially at this point, to be able to bring this range of topics and conversations to the table at what is increasingly becoming a controversial moment in our time.
“I am so excited to share the expanded vision for this story which marks an exciting new stage in my artistic practice. I never intended to create a film of this size, but due to the breadth of ideas which evolved along the way, it became more and more inevitable that this would become my first feature film.
In April this year, Art on the Underground, is also launching a new permanent commission by Larry Achiampong for Westminster Tube Station with work featured on posters and on the cover of the 35th Pocket Tube Map.
Wayfinder runs from March 12 to June 19. Free entry. A reservation system is in place. Book in advance to guarantee your slot.