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Matthew Lewis, Between the Deep Blue, project identity, 2022.

Ambrose Rhapsody Murray, Within listening distance of the sea…, 2021. Vintage kantha quilt, digital print on satin, vintage slip dress, sequins and various textiles. 108h x 75w in. Courtesy of the artist.

Between the Deep Blue is an invitation to question how we can transform past traumatic histories into new ways of living and healing through a series of ocean-linked workshops and events held in an immersive space. 

Listen to the water singing the traumas it has been carrying for centuries, to the disappeared stories dragged into the darkness of the ocean. Listen to the forgotten voices and remember their pain. 

Remember the ones who used to be in this blue immensity. 

Carefully, try to catch the breath of the extinct silent mammal, the sea cow, rebirthing next door through Juha Pekka Matias Laakkonen’s replica of its skeleton. Activating the sea cow as a symbol of the ocean’s witnessing of traumatic experiences, Between the Deep Blue wishes to commune with the wounds of the triangular trade and its present legacies by linking Laakkonen's works to Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ text Undrowned (2020). Honouring the story of the mammal, Gumbs reveals how it was hunted until extinction within 27 years of its discovery as collateral from the colonisation of North America and the hunger for fur and blubber. 

"What can I do to honour you, now that it is too late?
I would honour you with the roughness of my skin, the thickness of my boundaries, the warmth of my own fat. I would honour you with my quiet and my breathing, my listening further and further out and in. I would honour you with the slowness of my movement, contemplative and graceful.”

Image: Ambrose Rhapsody Murray, Within listening distance of the sea…, 2021. Vintage kantha quilt, digital print on satin, vintage slip dress, sequins and various textiles. 108h x 75w inches. Courtesy of the artist.

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Immersive Space

The space is created in collaboration with North Carolina based artist Ambrose Rhapsody Murray and Slovenian sound artist Robertina Šebjanič.

Murray’s textile presented in the room is a new commission engaging with Gumb’s  text and exploring migratory flows of people journeying through the seas and its ecological and historical impacts. Šebjanič’s sound piece enters into dialogue with Ambrose's aquatic works to amplify the feeling of immersion into water. Atlantic Tales (2020) is a musical composition sung in traditional Irish sean-nós style, addressing human and non-human oceanic migratory journeys in the age of the Anthropocene. In this multi-sensorial space, invite your body to rest and experience beyond the gaze, allowing senses to wash over you. Navigate in the themes addressed by Between the Deep Blue through the available books and texts. 

Through a series of workshops and events, the space becomes an invitation to actively dive into layered stories. An artist talk between Ambrose and Alexis, a meditation evening held by artist Laetisha Davine Lovelace-Hanson, the screening of Ella Frost, Soha Salem and Aisha Mirza’s film What you love too much to lose (2021) and workshop about more-than-human storytelling, and a plant-based photography development workshop offered by Kathryn Attrill, transform the space by sparking different conversations and providing tools to heal from past traumas and find new ways of living. 

Events Programme

Wednesday 18 May, 6-9pm
Opening celebration with screening of prerecorded conversation between Ambrose Rhapsody Murray and Alexis Pauline Gumbs. The conversation engages with the importance of water in the black diaspora and is followed by a Q&A in presence of Ambrose Rhapsody Murray.

Thursday 19 May, 7-8.30pm
Mediative workshop for Black women+ only: when de memory came <3 // for we are water, and all water is life, with Lateisha Davine Lovelace-Hanson, booking required.

Friday 20 May, 7-9pm
Screening of What You Love Too Much To Lose by Ella Frost, Soha Salem, Aisha Mirza; and a workshop with Ella Frost and Veronica (Vee) Amon, booking required.

Saturday 21 May, 2-4pm
Seaweed Light Traces: an ecological analogue film workshop with Kathryn Attrill, booking required. 

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This public programme is curated by Antoine Schafroth, Mattie O’Callaghan, Jeanne de La Masselière, Weiduo Liu, Isabelle Lily Cain, JinYao Wang, Aleksandra Wojt, Carianne Annan, from MA Curating Contemporary Art Programme Royal College of Art as part of the Graduate Project 2022, in partnership with Gasworks. 

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Artist Biographies

Ambrose Rhapsody Murray
Ambrose Rhapsody Murray is a Queer artist from Western North Carolina who studied African American History alongside Fine Art at Yale University. Murray’s experience in liberation movement and social justice spaces across the South informs their praxis as a Black, queer, southern artist. Themes of liberation, containment, labour, migration, memory, water, ancestry, memories,the body and openings / portals are themes they heavily evoke through their works.

Robertina Šebjanič
Robertina Šebjanič is an artist whose work explores the biological, chemical, political and cultural realities of aquatic environments and the impact of humanity on other organisms. Her projects call for the development of empathetic strategies aimed at recognising the rights of other (non-human) species. 

Lateisha Davine Lovelace-Hanson
Lateisha Davine Lovelace-Hanson is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer and performer whose works wish to offer healing from colonialism and its resulting sufferings and injustices. 

Ella Frost
Ella Frost is a video artist, amateur tattooist, community organiser and shark enthusiast in London interested in documenting truth, perception, the every day and the unseen. Ella is the founder of BFZ and works as a sexual health coordinator for the sexual health charity SASH.  

Aisha Mirza
Aisha Mirza is a musician, writer and founder of misery, a mental health collective and sober rave for QTIBPOC. They also write a monthly advice column ‘Queeries’ published by gal-dem.

Soha Salem
Soha Salem is a multidisciplinary lover of all things nature and creatures. Soha enjoys making things with loved ones, birdwatching, and stopping people in their tracks to look at herbs growing out of pavement cracks.

Veronica (Vee) Amon
Veronica (Vee) Amon joined BFZ in 2019. Vee is a researcher, maker and consultant, currently initiating research projects exploring time, cultural artefacts and sensuality, while working with and teaching first year Design students at LCC as a visiting practitioner.