Larry Achiampong: Wayfinder - Installation view (06)

Larry Achiampong: Wayfinder - Installation view (06)
Archive Shelf Location BALTIC2023M
Publication Date 20 May 2023

Larry Achiampong: Wayfinder (installation view, Relic Traveller)

Baltic presents the first major solo exhibition by British-Ghanaian artist Larry Achiampong. Working in film, sculpture, installation, sound, collage, music and performance, Achiampong draws on his shared and personal heritage to explore class, gender, the intersection between popular culture and the residues of colonisation. His work examines digital identities and constructions of ‘the self’, offering multiple perspectives that reveal the deeply entrenched inequalities in our society.

The exhibition in our Level 3 gallery includes the commissioned feature-length film Wayfinder (2022) which follows a young girl’s intrepid journey across England, from Hadrian’s Wall in the North to Margate in the South, and the people and places she encounters. Set in a pandemic, Achiampong’s most ambitious film to date considers class and economic exclusion, belonging and displacement, cultural heritage and the meaning of home. Other works include the largest UK presentation of the artist’s multi-disciplinary Relic Traveller project (2017–ongoing) alongside sculpture, photographs, video and a gaming room on Level 2.

This exhibition has been organised by Turner Contemporary with MK Gallery and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. The film Wayfinder has been commissioned by Turner Contemporary with MK Gallery and Baltic.

Relic Traveller

Achiampong’s multi-disciplinary Relic Traveller project imagines a near future in which a Relic Travellers’ alliance is formed by the African Union. Equipped with space travel technology, the Relic Travellers go to the West to explore deserted landscapes and architectures, relics of a colonial past. Their mission is to collect the vocal testimonies of those historically oppressed through colonialism, capitalism and globalisation, and as the artist states, the ‘stories and experiences of people who have not yet been allowed to be healed or learned from.’

Two of the Relic films, flags and a new series of Relic space suits are shown here. The project was partly inspired by two events that coincided in 2016 – the UK voting to leave the European Union and the African Union announcing a new international passport scheme. Achiampong imagines a future in which the West has driven itself into decline through separatist politics, while Africa has evolved into a prosperous and harmonious union responsible for shaping the future of our planet.

The testimonies collected by the Relic Travellers form the voice-over narratives of Achiampong’s Relic films and are used by the African Union to govern responsibly from the bottom up. The artist’s concept of ‘Sanko-time’ is at the core of the project. It is based in the Twi word Sankofa, which means ‘to go back and retrieve.’ For Achiampong this is a cyclical concept of time, ‘using the past to prepare for the future.’

Credit Reece Straw
Copyright © 2023 Baltic
Format JPEG
Related Artist Larry Achiampong
Months May 2023, June 2023, July 2023, August 2023, September 2023, October 2023
Keywords Social Inequality, Digital identity, Personal history, Heritage, Popular culture, Video Games, Class (concept), Race (concept), Gender, Colonisation, economic exclusion, Pandemic, Belonging, Displacement, Home (concept), flags, speculative future, Space travel
Related Event Larry Achiampong: Wayfinder (20 May – 29 Oct 2023)
Related Gallery BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

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