Liberty: A Universal Chronology of Black Protest reinterprets defining moments of historical revolt and black struggle in Africa and the diaspora, exploring what unifies and defines these fights for freedom and human rights. These images challenge monolithic history-telling, featuring key events such as the Alabama marches on Washington (Selma 1965), lesser known resistance movements against colonial oppression in southeastern Nigeria (The Women’s War 1929) and the more recent Million Hoodie March in New York triggered by the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012, whose death inspired the Black Lives Matter campaigns.
Diop appears as the main character throughout the series, enacting different roles including African railway workers, French migrants, Second World War soldiers, Jamaican maroons and members of the Black Panther Party. Rich in detail and symbolism, the elaborately staged tableaux commemorate slave revolts, independence movements, social justice campaigns and the events that sparked them – a testament to the power of collective organising, community campaigning and the enduring spirit of resistance.
For Diop, they constitute ‘a reinvented narrative of the history of black people, and therefore, the history of humanity and of the concept of Freedom.’
Also opening on the evening is a new exhibition by Arpita Shah: Purdah - The Sacred Cloth.