Grada Kilomba performance Boca 2021 © Bruno Simao

Grada Kilomba: O Barco / The Boat

29 Sep – 19 Oct 2022

Ticketed performances: 13 & 15 Oct 2022

Edmond J. Safra
Fountain Court

Interdisciplinary artist Grada Kilomba brings her critically- acclaimed installation O Barco / The Boat, 2021 to our courtyard.

Displayed in the UK for the first time, the large-scale installation and performance will be specially presented on the occasion of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair’s 10th anniversary, which has shown at Somerset House since its inception.  

The striking 32-metre-long installation is 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. Two performances will take place against the backdrop of the Somerset House courtyard.  

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.  

The third Morgan Stanley Late at Somerset House with The Courtauld will mark the closing of O Barco / The Boat. Visitors will have after-hours access to Somerset House and The Courtauld, with free events and activities offered on site themed around the Grada Kilomba’s work and Amba Sayal Bennett’s commission.  

Ticket information available this autumn. 

Kindly supported by

Goodman Gallery Logo