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A Testament To Life & Death The Repeat Beat Poet

Focal Point Gallery is pleased to announce the ninth commission as part of ‘FPG Sounds’, an online project to support the development of new sound works by artists from or based in Southend-on-Sea.

For this commission, The Repeat Beat Poet (Peter deGraft-Johnson) has produced audio recordings from his debut pamphlet, A Testament To Life & Death. The poems exhibited as part of this commission are constructed narratives which illustrate the impact of British imperial and colonial legacies on the body politic of the UK.

These poems were written as acts of resistance, reclamation, and reportage. While Tommy Builds A Cocktail takes aim at historical British military and mercenary atrocities and activity during the 50s-70s during an era of formal independence for colonies and a shrinking of the army, poems like Once I Get Out Of Bed and Black View communicate the contemporary and ever-present threats of white supremacist violence, including police and border violence. A Step By Step Guide To Saving The British Dream pokes fun at the absurdity of racial purity before the duo of One Black Lotus and Resurvival suggest alternative freeing ways of being, by using the example of the Jamaican-Scottish 18thC radical and union activist William Davidson, and by retracing the steps back from an imagined future where the horrors of racism are a distant memory.

Available online here.

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