Larry Achiampong Creates Sound Piece For The Line Art Walk

De La Warr Pavillion © 2020 Larry Achiampong

The Line is London’s first dedicated public art walk; an outstanding, free outdoor art gallery, following the line of the Greenwich Meridian along a route which passes through three of the most diverse boroughs in the UK (Newham, Tower Hamlets and Greenwich). To mark the 5th anniversary of the critically acclaimed art walk, The Line is delighted to announce the launch on 29th August of Sanko-time – a new, specially commissioned audio work by British Ghanaian artist, Larry Achiampong.

This audio work has been developed to accompany the 20-minute round-trip on the Emirates Air Line cable car from Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks and is designed to complement the views over the River Thames. It can also be experienced anywhere in the world via

Sanko-time is a concept developed by the artist that relates to the Ghanaian Twi word Sankofa, which roughly translates as to go back for what has been left behind and alludes to using the past to prepare for the future. This site-specific work responds to the indelibility of the historical British Empire on the areas local to The Line. Incorporating oral histories from the Museum of London’s sound collection, field recordings from London and Accra and audio recorded during workshops with primary school children from St Mary Magdalene C of E School in Greenwich. Sanko-time takes the listener through a rich soundscape connected by the Greenwich Meridian.

Threaded with a powerful narrative about the legacy of colonialism from Achiampong, Sanko-time is a hypnotic synthesis of poetry, field recordings and music, including drum loops by the late Tony Allen an Afrobeat pioneer who brought together elements of Ghanaian Highlife and Jazz. The work is infused with the sounds and rhythms of Accra and London, including the lapping waves of Jamestown (the fishing harbour in Accra) and the water of the Royal Docks, as well as the street sounds of Accra’s Makola Market. The tides and empires explored in Sanko-time rise and fall to reveal the imprints of histories and the colonial past in our present.

Larry Achiampong stated, ‘Sanko-time’ is a unique point in my practice in that (for the first time) I have married the varied approaches I make using sound. From the use of sampling technologies (like drum machines), to field recordings, and then compositions built from the ground up. This confluence of specific methods has allowed me to investigate the complex history of British Empire by exploring the relationship between London and the connecting waterways of the Meridian to Accra, Ghana.’

Megan Piper, Director of The Line, said, “Sanko-time is an evocative work which also carries a powerful reminder of the colonial legacies that taint our everyday life. We are now living through an extraordinary moment in history that we hope will be marked by a revolution in social justice – it’s time for a new kind of listening. Working with Larry on our inaugural sound commission has been a privilege; heralding a new way of working for The Line as we think creatively about how we use public space in different ways”.

The Line currently features monumental sculptures by eleven artists, including the recently installed Thomas J Price Reaching Out, which joins Joanna Rajkowska’s The Hatchling and Abigail Fallis’ DNA DL90 on the River Lea and Antony Gormley’s Quantum Cloud and Gary Hume’s Liberty Grip at Greenwich Peninsula. Other new additions for 2020 include the installation of Laura Ford’s Bird Boy at Royal Victoria Dock in the Royal Docks and the extension of the route through Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, to encompass the UK’s largest sculpture, Anish Kapoor’s ArcelorMittal Orbit, and Carsten Höller’s The Slide.

Top Image credit: What I Hear I Keep, 2020. Commissioned by De La Warr Pavillion © 2020 Larry Achiampong. Courtesy of the Artist and Copperfield London 

Larry Achiampong (b.1984, London) studied Mixed Media Fine Art at the University of Westminster (2002-05) and Sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art (2006-08). Achiampong’s solo and collaborative projects employ imagery, aural and visual archives, live performance and sound to explore ideas surrounding class, cross-cultural and post-digital identity. His work examines his communal and personal heritage – in particular, the intersection between pop culture and the postcolonial position, seeking to reveal the entrenched socio-political contradictions in contemporary society. Achiampong has worked on commissions, residencies and exhibitions with major institutions both in the UK and internationally including Tate, the Venice and Singapore Biennales, Somerset House and Art on the Underground (his commission for Westminster Station, Pan African Flags for the Relic Travellers’ Alliance, was installed until February 2020). Achiampong currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) and is a 2019 recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Award for Artists.

De La Warr Pavilion

What I Hear I Keep is commissioned by De La Warr Pavilion on the occasion of Rock Against Racism: Militant Entertainment 1976-82, a major exhibition opening in late 2020 that explores one of the most important British grassroots cultural movements of the 20th century. Through thrilling music, vibrant design and witty, subversive polemic, Rock Against Racism united music lovers in the fight against racism and fascism. Achiampong will present two newly commissioned works: a sound piece that can be heard within the exhibition, and a flag to fly from the Pavilion’s flagpole. Both works form part of the artist’s on-going, multi-site project Relic Traveller.

The De La Warr Pavilion is a centre for arts and culture in an iconic modernist building by the sea. With artists and audiences at its heart, it produces an innovative and integrated cultural programme that reflects the world we live in. The programme includes exhibitions, new commissions and residencies by British and international artists, as well as exhibitions focusing on design and visual culture, alongside events, talks and performance, and projects that unfold across the building and into the neighbourhood.

The Museum of London

The Museum of London has been collecting the memories of Londoners since the 1980s. The museum’s oral history collection now contains more than 5,000 hours of recorded life story interviews with a wide variety of people talking about their lives and everyday experiences.

The Museum of London tells the ever-changing story of this great world city and its people, from 450,000 BC to the present day. Our galleries, exhibitions, displays and activities seek to inspire a passion for London and provide a sense of the vibrancy that makes the city such a unique place.

Royal Docks Enterprise Zone

The Royal Docks Enterprise Zone is a joint project between the Mayor of London, the London Borough of Newham, led by Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz, and the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP). It has the potential to deliver 35,000 jobs, 4,000 new homes and more than £5 billion of inward investment by 2037/38. As London’s only Enterprise Zone, the Royal Docks has a special government designation that means new business rates in the Zone are reserved and reinvested into the area. This has enabled plans for £314 million of investment into the area over the next 5 years to revive the area as a distinctive location for business and culture.

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