WE ARE ONE FAMILY #BLM
KCAW is proud to collaborate with Curator Bolanle Tajudeen for the fourth Love Kensington + Chelsea mural located on large hoarding on Freston Road, W10.
In response to the Black Lives Matter movement and as part of our efforts to redress the systemic underrepresentation and undersupport of black womxn artists, Tajudeen – tutor of Art in the Age of Black Girl Magic, local resident and founder of Black Blossoms School of Art, a learning platform decolonising art education – has curated a collaborative mural by Linett Kamala and Azarra Amoy.
The artists have created three designs based on key topics relating to: local heritage and history, and social justice issues of female empowerment and racial representation. The public and local residents were invited to vote for their preferred design.
The winning concept is an afrofuturist mural using the idea of Frestonian postal stamps to honour the legacy of Paulette Wilson, an activist who fought her illegal deportation to Jamaica, bringing the Windrush Generation scandal to the media and public attention; and Belly Mujinga, who died from COVID-19 after being spat at whilst working for British Railways. Security cameras are further to the right highlighting the hyper surveillance of young Black British men and scattered around the mural are visa stamps proclaiming Black Futures.
Love Kensington + Chelsea Street Art project is an ongoing public art initiative that celebrates the histories of the borough with murals on construction hoardings by local artists, chosen by public vote. WE ARE ONE FAMILY #BLM Mural is created with support by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Black History Month Grants Scheme.
See our previous murals here.
The loss felt by the Black British community felt when an individual’s life is cut short because of systemic racism is heartbreaking. This heartache was brought to the world stage in the summer of 2020 after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and this community has felt an intimate pain from the tragedy of Grenfell in 2017. On both occasions, society has been forced to look within and analyse the ways in which they have contributed to anti-blackness.
In Britain, the Black community have felt enraged, betrayed and despairing when they have taken to the streets to rightly demand justice for Black life.
Enraged by decades of continuous surveillance and over-policing of the community. Betrayed every time a member of the Windrush community stood forward to tell their story of contributing to a system which never valued them. Despairing when faced with the COVID-19 outcomes for ethnic minorities.
Analysing history it would not be wrong for Black Britons to disengage, to refuse to continue appealing to the moral sensibilities of those with power. Yet there is agonising hope that things will change. This hope was reignited when many people from different quarters stood in solidarity to echo “Black Lives Matter.”
In October 1977, when the residents living on Freston and Bramley Road were faced with the possibility of eviction they all adopted the same surname. The tenants and squatters living on Freston Road understood how the power of ‘community’ could give them the freedom they desired. By using a legal loophole and applying to the United Nations to be recognised as an independent state from Greater London, the Free and Independent State of Frestonia was born, boldly declaring to the whole world: “WE ARE ONE FAMILY.” Visual symbols such as visas, postal stamps and a centred sunflower on a green flag were designed, giving the inhabitants and visitors signifiers of the new territory.
Artists Azarra Amoy and Linett Kamala are highlighting the legacy of Frestonia by reimagining what a safe state for Black folks to have flourishing futures will look like. Stipulating “reparations not repatriations” on visa stamps and using calligraffiti to highlight words from protest placards from our summer of racial dissent. Images of unsung heroines and heroes from the Black community living in Britain and our local community are placed on each mural focusing on different parts of British history.
What both artists hope to achieve is for communities living and working around the Freston Road area to stand in solidarity with the Black community. They believe Frestonians would have fought alongside the Black community today. When anything is against the wishes of the people, we must come together in unity, remembering and recognising “WE ARE ONE FAMILY” & “ALL BLACK LIVES MATTER”
Bolanle Tajudeen, Curator