Coinciding with Black History Month in the UK, A New Dawn-The Era Of Reclamation spans an installation, an EP and a live performance.
A New Dawn-The Era Of Reclamation, which coincides with Black History Month in the UK, is to address The House Of St Barnabas's colonialist past. It came about after one of the charity's employees, Gillian Jackson, discovered that the building was rebuilt by 18th-century slave owner Richard Beckford, who likely enslaved her ancestors in Jamaica.
GAIKA, whose ancestors were also enslaved by Beckford, has helped create three art pieces for the project. A room in the charity's building is hosting an installation called Flight Recorder, which will feature a Tascam tape recorder disguised as an in-flight black box. The box will make different sounds depending on where people touch it. These sounds will then be recorded and sampled by GAIKA and turned into an EP. There will also be a live performance at the charity's chapel later in the year.
"Music has been a seminal part of the black experience—from slavery to present day," says Gillian Jackson, director of engagement at The House Of St Barnabas. "And music is intrinsically linked to memory. GAIKA will use these new recordings as a way of telling his story and bringing up the idea of memories, flight and the black journey traveled."
"It's as if we're supposed to not talk about slavery and if we do, we run the risk of being called divisive," GAIKA told the Guardian. "We need to actually discuss these things or go further and try and remedy some of the inequalities or imbalances. What I want is to try and tip the scales back a little bit."
GAIKA and The House Of St Barnabas are encouraging other people whose ancestors were enslaved by Beckford to come forward and take part in the project. Flight Recorder will be open until December 2020.
Run as a charity since 1862, The House Of St Barnabas helps people break the cycle of homelessness and find employment. Since 2013, it has also been a private members' club for people "invested in creating a fair and equal society," according to the website. Current members include Gilles Peterson, Jarvis Cocker and Rob Da Bank.
Photo credit: Kay Ibrahim