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Reflections on Public Realm Ting-Ting Cheng, YARA + DAVINA and Harun Morrison

01 Mar-31 Mar 2021

Between March and April Iniva is working in partnership with GLA on a project for the ‘Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm’. The commission is developing a more joined-up approach and creating a shared understanding of the importance of different achievements and stories in the city’s public spaces.

We are starting conversations around public space and collective memory in London with artists Ting-Ting Cheng, YARA + DAVINA and Harun Morrison. Each artist will engage with questions and offer prompts for discussion on public space and social practice on our social media platforms. 

The final section of the project is dedicated to artist and writer Harun Morrison and his text “Ice Cream over Bronze”. Divided into three parts, this commissioned piece proposes three monuments for the future, interrogating our relationship with public space.

Read the full piece here.

Harun Morrison is an artist and writer based on the inland waterways. He is the current recipient of the Wheatley Fine Art Fellowship, hosted by Birmingham School of Art, Birmingham City University and Eastside Projects. His forthcoming novel, The Escape Artist will be published by Book Works in 2022. Harun’s exhibition ‘Experiments with Everyday Objects’ opens at Eastside Projects this Spring and runs till the end of July. Recent soundworks will also feature in the 30th anniversary edition of the Dakar Biennial (postponed in 2020). Since 2006, Harun has collaborated with Helen Walker as part of the collective practice They Are Here. He is also a trustee of the Black Cultural Archives (est. 1981).

Previous contributions:


Mid-March was dedicated to social practice duo YARA + DAVINA who invited audiences to actively participate in their current public artwork Arrivals + Departures, at BAM in New York, and in doing so ask questions about the role of public art and memorials.

Arrivals + Departures is a large-scale public art installation that pays tribute to people—both those entering the world and leaving it. The work takes the recognizable form of a train station arrivals and departures board that displays names submitted by the public to celebrate a birth (arrivals), honour someone living, or commemorate a death (departures).

Arrivals + Departures offers a timely platform to engage with the effects of Covid-19 and the continuing racial and social injustice within our communities. Through this political act of naming, the interactive installation offers the opportunity to explore issues around birth, life, death, loss, and collective grief; alongside social and racial injustice, to question and change who is honoured through public statues and memorials.

“…a beautiful gesture to celebrate and commemorate.” — Londonist



YARA + DAVINA are an artist duo who make ambitious and playful public artworks that respond to site, context, and audience. Unfailingly inventive, their artworks are rooted within the everyday, using formats from popular culture, such as mini-golf to jokes, to explore issues that touch on the human condition. They’ve created artworks for multiple world-leading art venues and public organizations across the world such as Tate Modern and Tate Britain, Venice Biennale, National Portrait Gallery, Studio Museum Harlem, The Victoria & Albert, London, ZKM (Germany), HIAP (Finland), Kaunus Art Biennial (Lithuania), Modern Art Oxford, National Maritime Museum, and the ICA. In 2021, they are working on several large-scale public artworks, including Kick Off, a project with the National Trust, UK  that explores women’s football and the power of communal crafting, and Local Tea, a long term social practice art work for the Museum of the Home, London.

Ting-Ting Cheng

The first week of March was dedicated to artist Ting-Ting Cheng and revisiting her 2018 work, “2 March 1981” that retraces Black People’s Day of Action, one of the biggest marches against racism in UK at the time. Today marks the 40-year anniversary.

Black People’s Day of Action on 2nd of March 1981 was organised by the New Cross Action Massacre Committee and gathered around 20,000 to 25,000 in an 8-hour march from Fordham Park in New Cross to the Speakers Corner in Hyde Park. The Committee, led by the poet and publisher John La Rose, formed in the wake of the 18th of January 1981 events. During that night, thirteen young black people tragically lost their lives in an arson attack. The careless attitude of the authorities and the smear campaign from the media angered the black community.

As a local resident of New Cross, an East Asian immigrant born after 1981, it was impossible for me to participate in the march. ‘2 March 1981’ is an attempt to realise that desire. Following the original route of the march, I documented my walk from New Cross to Hyde Park. Through interviews with Rob Kenyon, Vron Ware and Homer Sykes, who were photographers as well as participants of the march, I repeated their voices of memories as if they were mine. By collecting fragment after fragment of the BBC documentary, by walking and enacting, I intended to use my body as the medium, to re-experience and represent the march.

You are invited to join me on this march by watching the videos on your screen, or check out the map to see if the march passed by the area where you live.

Special thanks to Rob Kenyon, Vron Ware and Homer Sykes, who generously spent their time to share their precious memories, and George Padmore Institute, who offered me the opportunity to visit the archives of the New Cross Massacre Committee.” Ting-Ting Cheng

You can watch the full length video here (part 1) and here (part 2).


TingTing Cheng graduated from MA Photographic Studies at University of Westminster and MFA Fine Art at Goldsmiths College. In her practice, Cheng examines our cultural, national and racial identities and our relationship with the society through reinterpreting archival and found materials. She applies images, sound, videos, objects, actions and participations in her work to invite audiences to be part of the narratives while discovering forgotten/unofficial history. Cheng had solo shows at Taipei Fine Art Museum and galleries in Taiwan, Japan, Spain, UK and more. Her works were featured in Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architechture (China), III Moscow International Biennale for Young Art and Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil (São Paulo). She was the artist-in-residency at Iniva (London), CFCCA (Manchester), cheLA (Buenos Aires), Zero Station (HCMC), Museum of Modern and Contemporary Arts (Seoul) and more.

Image credit: Ting-Ting Cheng, 2 March 1981. Film still, courtesy of the artist.
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2 March 1981