Nigerian–British hip hop legend Ty – the unofficial Mayor of Brixton – who passed this year due to complications related to Covid-19, will be remembered and celebrated in a new digital and print zine and seven short films.
Cultural communications organisation Louder Than Words today (8 December) announced the launch of the zine, ESB (Empire Strikes Back), and the premiere of seven films from ESB creatives on Tuesday (15 December) in co-operation with late at Tate Britain.
ESB is a new international programme for emerging multi-disciplinary artists who challenge social structures that oppress in the colonies and former colonies of the British empire.
It works with creatives from marginalised communities across former British colonies.
Late at Tate Britain is a programme of monthly events for young and diverse audiences featuring music, film, fashion and live performance.
Publisher Louder Than Words is a non-profit cultural communications organisation which publicises events for young people across the UK encouraging diversity in the arts. Launched in November 2011 Louder Than Words has worked with many of the UK’s leading cultural figures and organisations to help amplify the voices of disenfranchised young people and communities.
The launch edition of ESB features Ty’s award-winning creative collective, who worked with him across his iconic music, videos, artwork and events – including Mercury Prize nominated multi-instrumental Eska; award-winning photographer Benji Reid; artist Bunny Bread; hip hop DJs Maseo (De La Soul), Shortee Blitz, Ted and Billy Biznizz; producers Drew Horley and Leroy Brown; designer Benjamin Wachenje; husband and wife DJ duo Handson Family; No Long Ting founders Cyndi Anafo and Chris Ellesse; and Jazz re:freshed co-founder Justin McKenzie.
ESB will also debut an array of multi-disciplinary artwork from emerging post-colonial creatives – seen through the lens of Ty’s ethos, beliefs and values – which has left a lasting legacy and impact on Black British culture.
Artworks include short films, photography, music, spoken word, poetry, performance art, dance, ceramics and graphic design.
ESB will launch its digital zine at www.esb.international simultaneously with Late at Tate Britain, online on Tuesday 15 December at 7pm.
It will showcase artists’ work created in response to their lived experience of the British Empire, while harnessing TY’s uncompromising approach to independence and arts practice.
Supported by Small Green Shoots and funded by Arts Council England, ESB is the brainchild of Louder Than Words.
With permission from Ty’s estate, it organised a series of inter-generational workshops and masterclasses in Brixton, to honour and pay tribute to his legacy.
The sessions were led by one of TY’s most valued musical collaborators Eska.
Each of the participating emerging creatives was also schooled by Ty’s a creative collective in the exploration of his pioneering methodology and techniques.
Louder Than Words will publish the ESB as a limited-edition book, available in January.
Louder Than Words founder Myvanwy Evans said: “Ty was a true pioneer, but felt tragically under-heard in his lifetime, yet his legacy and impact lives on through ESB.
“Ty has been part of Louder Than Words workshops with young creatives since its launch in 2011, so it is fitting that he inspires and fuels the inaugural ESB – featuring his own pioneering creative collective, together with artworks from emerging artists who have been inspired by him.
“During the many years that I studied art and art history in the UK, I was never once taught about the artists that look like me or that come from where I come from.
“I hope ESB will play a role in decolonising artistic practice and art history.”
Tate curator Adrian Shaw said: “Tate Collective Producers were delighted to have the launch of ESB at the December Late at Tate Britain.
“It has a huge vision and is providing much needed knowledge and access to modern day artists and arts collectives across generations, cultural and social divides.
“We’re excited to see what they get up to going forward and hope we can collaborate with them again.”
ESB emerging artists and their work reflecting their lived experience of the British empire:
Antiqu’e Ampomah ‘I Have Something to Say’ spoken word, film
Andre Maynard ‘Space Gems’ mix media
Alex Stewart ‘Build’ music album
Beverley Bossanga ‘Home One Day’ spoken word, film
Claire Louise Niesyto-Bame ‘British Means’ dance, film
Enam Gbewonyo ‘Nude Me/Under the Skin: An Invocation of the Ancestral Mothers in the Regeneration of Self’ mix media
Haroon Khan ‘Tomorrow’ poem
Jamal ‘Eklipes’ Msebele ‘Tomorrow’ lyrics, film
Joanne O. Art ‘Home’ film
Johan Lamche-Brennan ‘Amalgamation’ film
Laurence Monck ‘Free Derry’ ‘Londonderry’ graphic design
Olga German ‘I’ll Never be a Stranger in Lo(ve)ndon’ dance, film
Petra Haller ‘Depth Perception’ dance, film
Simone Linton ‘Hayter Road’ singer song writing, photography, graphic design
Tom Swindell ‘Blood Vessel’ Ceramics.