Resident Artist Announcement: Amartey Golding
Imagine a scenario where we suddenly have to find a new national anthem. Who do you call?
Lighthouse is hosting an artist residency for Amartey Golding to research and develop new work that uses England's rich musical traditions to better understand the hidden and not-so-hidden communities that have shaped us. The Anthem Collection (working title) will begin with a series of conversations, gatherings, podcasts and exchanges asking, "How do you approach the idea of creating anthems for a nation? Whose stories get told? Who gets to tell them?"
The project will begin to narrate a story of England through a rich variety of ancient and folk music traditions and newer genres like Bhangra, UK Garage, pop, drum and bass, neo-soul, northern soul, trip-hop, Jungle, grime and dubstep.
The residency will lead to the creation of an ambitious nationwide touring public artwork: commissioning musicians, artists, poets, comedians and storytellers to compose an unpredictable and ever-growing collection of anthems.
Want to be part of this conversation? – express your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “The Anthem Collection - getting involved"
We began working with Amartey during the pandemic, supporting a series of photographic images for Bring Me to Heal, commissioned by Forma. The work explored Britain's complex and long-standing relationship with violence. Amartey was looking to reconnect with the cultures and experiences of people throughout history and consider the legacy of latent traumas in present-day England. As the title Bring Me to Heal suggests, the work searches for the point where the tide of trauma can be steered towards a healing process and away from further embedding itself in our psyche.
Our conversations expanded from that point towards Amartey's experiences growing up and feeling excluded from Englishness – much more comfortable associating instead with British or Scottish heritage. Whenever played in public, the national anthem triggered this discomfort and threat. During a time of change for England – post-Brexit, and facing independence sentiments from Scotland and Wales – this project looks at who England is as a nation today and how music may be used to create solidarity and intercommunity pride between the many varied communities that make us 'us'.
About the Artist
Born and raised as a Rastafarian between London, Cambridge and Ghana, Amartey Golding was born in London in 1988 to an Anglo-Scottish mother, Ghanaian father and Jamaican stepfather.
Growing up, music played an important role in Amarteys life. As a Rastafarian, reggae music was central to Amartey's historical learning, identity and self-esteem as a young person. Reggae music is not only songs to make you feel good; they are packed with historical education, sermons, psychological encouragement and social commentary. Living in many rural areas of England, Reggae was a way for Amartey to connect with a larger community and receive history that placed them and their community as important, usually in contrast to narratives of the surrounding environment.
Reggae's popularity outside of the Rasta community contributed heavily to a growing acceptance of Black people and Rasta culture across the world, creating allies for that community and intercommunity understanding and advocacy. The Anthems project draws from Reggae's role in connecting and raising the awareness and self-esteem of communities and creating anthems that other groups can sing to and see themselves in.
Amartey's body of work documents his introspective process of identifying and understanding the primal unifying themes of humanity using his personal context as a starting point. Preferring to work with mediums he is untrained in, to date his practice has incorporated chainmail making, printmaking, film, photography, ballet, fashion and wig making. His works, including Bring Me to Heal, Chainmail, Stasis, Is It Just Me Or Is It You, Amartey has exhibited with, among others, the V&A, Forma, Tramway, 198 Gallery, ACCA Sussex.