Larry Achiampong: Wayfinder - Installation view (10)

Larry Achiampong: Wayfinder - Installation view (10)
Archive Shelf Location BALTIC2023M
Publication Date 20 May 2023

Larry Achiampong: Wayfinder (installation view, Glyths)

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.


This series of digital collages draws on photographs from Achiampong’s own family albums from the 1980s. These intimate moments of family life and formal group portraits were mainly photographed by his mother. The artist has replaced the face of every Black person with an identical black circle containing red lips. As Achiampong explains, ‘I was depicting the experience of being treated like an alien based on the colour of my skin.’ The black circle and red lips reference the homogenising and dehumanising iconography of the ‘golliwog’, which the artist remembers from the Robinson’s marmalade jar as a child – only discontinued in 2002 and still perpetuated by brands such as Gucci. The appropriation of this iconography is also an act of political resistance, partly inspired by the Guy Fawkes mask from Alan Moore’s anarchist comic V for Vendetta.

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 Home (concept), Displacement, Belonging, Pandemic, economic exclusion, Colonisation, Gender, Race (concept), Class (concept), Video Games, Popular culture, Heritage, Personal history, Digital identity, Social Inequality
Related Event Larry Achiampong: Wayfinder (20 May – 29 Oct 2023)
Related Gallery BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

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