Overtones at Tate Exchange

Overtones is a collaborative resource created with visual artist Heather Agyepong in response to her new series of photographic works Yaa (2017) which raised a number of questions in relation to ownership, visibility and the value of culture.

The resource provides a starting point for conversations about culture and its wider role in society and our everyday lives. It examines the intersections of race and class through a series of careful and thoughtful questions to enable a process of self-reflection for those who encounter it. Four key themes were explored; cultural production/consumption, (in)visibility, mental health and privilege.

The body of work displayed in But We Are Still Here was commissioned by Tate and saw Agyepong re-imagined as Ghanaian Ashanti Warrior Yaa Asantewaa. The series of photographs shows her taking ownership of the gallery space with images show her in front of Chris Ofili’s No Woman, No Cry (1998) located at Tate Britain as well as in The Starr Cinema and The Tanks at Tate Modern.

For the launch of the event, Peju was in conversation with Agyepong in the Tate Exchange space located on level 5 in The Blavatanik building, Tate Modern. The evening consisted of time for visitors to browse and spend time with the works moving through the space. This was then followed by an in-depth conversation about the process of making the artworks, central themes explored in the works as well as her experiences and response to black bodies in art spaces, the exploitation of black pain and expectations of the production of work.