Amartey Golding: Bring Me To Heal
Amartey Golding’s new large-scale commission combines filmmaking, photography and a handcrafted garment to highlight generational trauma in Britain and offer collective rituals of healing. The artist’s most ambitious work to date, the films will be shown as part of a major tour presented by Forma Arts & Media and the commissioning partners Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts in Brighton, Tramway and 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning.
Golding often turns to his Anglo-Scottish and Ghanaian ancestry by way of a Rastafarian upbringing as a point of departure to explore the drivers of human behaviour. Through film, photography and an increasingly labour-intensive process of sculpture, he creates dreamlike spaces, steeped in historical reference in which to locate characters experiencing moments of immutable change - points of no return that often leave the future hanging in the balance.
A centrepiece of the commission is an ornate hand knotted garment made of human hair that has been intricately designed by Golding in collaboration with the Shepperton Wig Company and hair artist Kevin Fortune using a pattern that blends references from afro hair styles to the body art of ancient Britons. Born from a lengthy process it is a symbol of collective healing and reflection; using the hair of a collective of potentially thousands of people, each strand was hand knotted and tended to by a collective of producers and for the purposes of collective healing.
Through the films and photography series the garment is brought to life when worn by Solomon Golding - Amartey’s brother and a dancer in his own right. We follow the character as he is nurtured into existence by a group of three nomadic Brothers in the English countryside or brought to a point of reckoning with our violent past within the opulence of the V&A museum, exposing a potent vulnerability.
As the title suggests, the work searches for the point at which the tide of trauma can be steered towards a process of healing and away from further embedding itself in our collective psyche. For this, Golding looks to the vital restorative work undertaken by Rastafarian and many other communities dealing with generational trauma and in a radical shift, applies these same techniques of context, accountability and compassion to the White British experience. Bring Me To Heal is a plea, an invocation for us to acknowledge the importance of understanding our emotional past and to establish a more equitable future. It is also a warning of the consequences we will continue to face if we don't.
The exhibition will also tour to:
Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Brighton
17 - 27 November 2021
198 Contemporary Arts & Learning, London
17 March - 1 May 2022
Amartey Golding’s Bring Me to Heal is a Forma Arts & Media commission in collaboration with 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, the Victoria & Albert Museum and Tramway. It is further supported by Arts Council England, The Golsoncott Foundation, Henry Moore Foundation and Lighthouse as part of Re-Imagine Europe.
Image Credit: Amartey Golding, Bring Me to Heal (2021), Video Still. Image courtesy of the artist and Forma Arts & Media.