Institutional racism and police brutality: ICA timely show after 15-month hiatus

Annual rally in London
Image by – Harmit Athwal

provided by: The Art Newspaper
published: 7 June 2021

After closing its doors for more than a year, the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London reopens on 6 July with an exhibition focused on the “various forms of state violence and institutional racism targeted at Britain’s Black communities”, the organisers say.

War Inna Babylon: the Community’s Struggle for Truths and Rights (6 July-26 September) has been organised by the advocacy and community organisation Tottenham Rights, and the independent curators Kamara Scott and Rianna Jade Parker.

War Inna Babylon: The Community’s Struggle for Truths and Rights

Takes place: 6 July – 26 September 2021
Venue: ICA, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH, See full details >

The show could not be more timely. In March, the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities published its long-awaited investigation into racial disparity in the UK. Tony Sewell, the commission chair, said: “We no longer see a Britain where the system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities.” The commission was set up by Munira Mirza, the policy chief for the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson.

Meanwhile, last June a review conducted by Public Health England, an agency of the UK Department of Health and Social Care, concluded that the impact of Covid-19 “replicated existing health inequalities and, in some cases, exacerbated them further, particularly for Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups”

Stafford Scott, the co-founder of Tottenham Rights and the exhibition co-curator, says in a statement: “In light of events over the past year, that have shown how little value is placed on Black lives—the Covid-19 Public Health England Review, Black Lives Matter demonstrations, the Sewell washout, the increased use of police violence, and stop and search procedures against members of the Black community—we view this as the perfect time to focus on grassroots activism in Black frontline communities across the UK.”

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