Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Author: Christabel Johanson

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Notting Hill Carnival

NottingHillPeterMinshall costume design

After the 1958 race riots, there was an effort to heal the rift between the black and white communities. From that intention, those immigrants from Trinidad, St Lucia, Jamaica and other countries established the Carnival, bringing through the influences and flair from back home. The first Carnival was held on 30th January 1959 in St Pancras Town Hall under the organisation of political activist Claudia Jones. Jones founded The West Indian Gazette, the UK’s first black newspaper, and the carnival was televised by the BBC in an aid to build bridges in Britain.

Christabel Johanson: How Notting Hill Carnival was meant to heal the rift between the black and white communities
Carnival costume designed by Peter Minshall Read more »

The Artwork of Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga

Fragile 2_small sRGB_170cm x 150cm, Acrylic and oil on canvas, 2018

My paintings are also a testimony to the beauty and intelligence of pre-colonial societies and a tribute to how these societies were organised. The way in which I place these societies in relation to the present is rather like tracing a traditional and cultural knowledge that was crushed by the rise of industrial power.

Christabel Johanson meets Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga in London

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Spoken word artist Malcolm London


Art gives us the ability to acknowledge each other’s humanity. In the words of MLK (Martin Luther King Jr), Justice is what love looks like in public. I believe that but there is clearly a discrepancy as to who gets justice & who doesn’t. We need more love and art, to me this allows us to access parts of ourselves and reimagine a better tomorrow. I don’t think there can be justice without art. There cannot be art without an interrogation of justice.

Spoken word artist Malcolm London from Chicago in conversation with Christabel Johanson

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Mbithi Masya’s movie Kati Kati


I was grieving the loss of a close friend and during one of their wakes, I heard someone say that my friend was lucky because she had left all of the weight of the world behind. That got me thinking. What if that’s not true. What if some of this baggage follows us to the other side. That was the seed of the story and we developed the world from there with my co-writer Mugambi Nthiga.

Mbithi Masya about what inspired him to make the movie Kati Kati

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Black Sound Exhibition London


Even now the ‘black sound’ is a constantly energetic and evolving creature. With more and more cross-genre records being dropped across Dance and Pop regularly there is little doubt that black music is the mainstream sound and market leader across the Western world.

Christabel Johanson on Black Music in the UK
Poster exhibition Black Sound

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