1-54 London 2022 x
Somerset House Courtyard
Grada Kilomba
O Barco/The Boat

Grada Kilomba’s large-scale installation and performance O Barco / The Boat, is a striking 32-metre-long sculpture composed of 140 wood blocks, the configuration of which outlines the lower ‘hold’ of an historical European slave ship. Charred by the artist, the blocks contain poems in 6 different languages, intricately inscribed into their textured surfaces. Directly addressing the history of European maritime expansion and colonisation, the piece invites the audience to consider forgotten stories and identities. Alongside its sculptural elements, the artwork includes live performance, combining song, music, and dance, with music production by award-winning writer and musician Kalaf Epalanga. Designed and directed by the artist, the live ensemble brings new meaning to O Barco / The Boat, both acknowledging memories of the past and looking towards the future.

Grada Kilomba is a Portuguese Berlin-based transdisciplinary artist whose work draws on memory, trauma, gender, and postcolonialism, interrogating concepts of knowledge, power, and violence. Making its UK debut, Kilomba’s installation will be on view in the courtyard throughout 1-54, with free performances on the 13th and 14th October 2022. 

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