A photo o f the departures board at Somerset House

Arrivals + Departures: Takeovers

21 Oct 2020

Honouring those who have come before us, we look back on the activisit and expert takeovers of our interactive courtyard installation.

Situated in our spectacular courtyard, Arrivals + Departures is a large-scale interactive installation exploring birth, death and the journey in between by artist duo YARA + DAVINA. Over the past few weeks the artists have invited different activists and experts to take over the interactive installation, that takes the form of a station or airport arrivals and departures board. The contributors submitted names to the boards, exploring a different theme each week. We share these stories below.


Laura Godfrey-Isaacs is a birth activist, midwife and artist. Laura chose to honour radical and important midwives from the past, midwives who have recently died during the pandemic, and babies born to midwives during lockdown.⁠

Laura chose to honour Margaret Njenga, Shiphrah and Puah and Philomena Canning on the departures board and Penny Cleo Howard and Autumn Rosie May on the arrivals board. Scroll through the post below to learn the stories behind each of these names.

Environmental Justice

Climate justice creative and campaigner Suzanne Dhaliwal chose to honour our environmental justice ancestors, who are often left out of the narrative of mainstream activism and green movements.

Suzanne named Amrita Devi and Ken Saro-Wiwa on the departures board, and Que Nakamarra Kenny, Crystal Lameman, Kanahus Manuel and Tom Goldtooth on the arrivals board. Learn more about these environmental activist below.


Bilal Nasim is a facilitator of grief-spaces and men’s work, who chose to focus on the topic of grief and death. We are all carrying grief related to loss. We all know death in some way or another. And yet nowadays, we talk about grief and death less and less. Via the departure board, Bilal provided a much-needed online space to speak openly about loss and begin tending to our grief.⁠

Bilal chose to name Zohri Bibi, Mohammed Arshad Javaid Sheikh, Usman Javid, Ernest Becker and Elizabeth Mitchell. The first three of the five departures are members of Bilal's family across three generations. Ernest Becker is a huge inspiration with his work on the role of death in life. With the fifth departure Bilal included someone without legacy in life or death.

Racial Justice

Visual anthropologist, filmmaker and community organiser Toni Lee joined us to interrogate the disposability of Black life as an enduring wound in our society. Part of the KIN family, an initiative aiming to bring Black activists and organisers together from across the UK, Toni honoured those who have lost their lives to racism.

Toni chose to name artist Akeelah Bertram as an arrival and Christopher Alder, Shukri Abdi and Elie Che as departures. Learn more about these names below.

Rima Hamid, also part of the KIN family, is a racial justice activist, community organiser, poet, resident artist at A4 Sounds Dublin, and budding DJ from Sudan and based in Dublin. Rima’s takeover focused on those killed during the Khartoum Massacre last year, of which they say “Their names will, and must be elevated”. This durational takeover, in which 104 victims were named, honoured each individual life lost, and invited the public to mark victims of systemic tyranny worldwide.

Arrivals + Departures is available to view in our Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court now. If you can't make it to us in person you can still commemorate a life on an arrival or departure board by submitting a name online.