Amartey Golding presents a new body of work which pushes and refines a personal, political and artistic response to the tensions of British colonial history and its relationship to contemporary youth culture, representations of black masculinity, the intersections of BAME and LGBT identities, and the impact of living within disenfranchised communities. For this commission by Forma the artist will produce a new film, chainmail garments and sculptures and a performance.
The artistic narrative will take place within an expanded alternate reality where black men partake in ritualised battles showcasing elaborate chainmail garments. Drawing on the competitive nature of hip hop and ballet, this nonviolent combat is imagined in dialogue with the escalating danger of knife crime impacting black families.
Following the loss of two friends to stabbings, chainmail took on new meaning for Golding as a cheap and effective means of protection for young men. Although inspired by debate in today’s media, the imagery and actions of the work also question Britain’s oppressive past, hierarchies of culture, and tensions between desire and dominance.
The film will envision two chainmail ceremonies; a long-awaited duel between renowned pugilists and a new performance by ballet dancer Solomon Golding, the first black British male to join the Royal Ballet Company (and Amartey’s brother). Solomon will showcase his skill and attempt to win the respect of the community whilst dressed in a suit of laboriously handmade chainmail weighing more than his body weight. The extreme power and grace of his dance will reflect Amartey’s understanding that ‘its contradictory nature as an item to preserve life and to facilitate death reflects the dilemma of living and the subjective nature of the aggressor and the victim.’
This commission was initiated by Forma in January 2019.
Amartey Golding is a visual artist living and working in Brighton. Golding has had solo exhibitions in Dubai, Germany, Denmark and the UK. He was the first artist to take part in Tashkeels artist in residence programme in Dubai by Sheikha Lateefa bint Maktoum. His practice explores the portrayal of black masculinity in the media and homophobia within black British Communities through sculpture, film and 2D work. Golding is currently undertaking production of an ACE funded solo exhibition to open in July in Portsmouth. Goldings work inspired the group show ‘Over my Black Body’ curated by Eunice Bélidor and Anaïs Castro at UQAM, Montréal in May 2019. His 2016 film Chainmail was lauded as “The must-see piece of this year’s London Art Fair” by The Art Newspaper.