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Created by Libita Sibungu

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Two people sit on the bank of a river holding an oar and a microphone

‘Undercurrents’ is a sonic poem created by Libita Sibungu that explores Bristol Beacon’s history and our position on the water, re-contextualised in resonance with African diasporic experiences and Afrofuturism.

The audio artwork was developed collaboratively through a series of workshops with black artists, writers and historians with a connection to Bristol in response to field and hydrophone recordings gathered in 2022.

The artwork is inspired by a 15th century ruttier; a long poem and map recited and memorised by sailors at sea to guide them as they navigated. The poet Dionne Brand subverted this ruttier in her poem ‘Ruttier for the Marooned in the Diaspora’ from her 2001 novel ‘A Map to the Door of no Return: Notes to Belonging’. Libita used both the original ruttier and Brand’s poem as context in her workshops to explore pathways of remembering African Diasporic people living in the city of Bristol.

Libita describes the artwork as “not about an end destination, it’s about process and reflection to re-imagine the present, impacted by the ongoing rupture, the afterlives, of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Whilst making way for the flood, grief and rage that comes with that, for any catharsis to happen.”

In her workshops, co-facilitated with artists  Imani Mason Jordan, Kayle Brandon, Felix Taylor, Libita gathered responses in a ‘listening ceremony with water’ that formed the basis for the sonic poem Undercurrents.

The sonic poem will be broadcast for the first time at 18:00 by BCFM and Radio Amnion.

Commissioned by Bristol Beacon
Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

Full Moon Broadcast
Thu 25 Jan 2024, 18.00



Curated by Theresa Bergne Field Art Projects
Produced by Prince Taylor

Lead vocals and arrangement by Libita Sibungu
Sound design and composition by Felix Taylor

Vocal contributions from:
Kayle Brandon

Edson Burton
Maria Christoforidou
Fozia Ismail
Valda Jackson
Imani Mason Jordan
Shawn-Napthali Sobers
Felix Taylor

Radio Partners:
Radio Amnion

Broadcast starts at 18:00 on Thu 25 Jan 2024



“Undercurrents is not about an end destination, it’s about process and reflection to re-imagine the present, impacted by the ongoing rupture, the afterlives, of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.”

Libita Sibungu

About the artist

Libita Sibungu

A person with short dark hair wearing hoop earrings and white overalls stands against a wooden bannister in warm light

I’ve always felt a tension around this city and in particular our relationship or non-relationship to the transatlantic slave trade.”

Libita Sibungu, 2023

Libita Sibungu is an interdisciplinary artist who draws on her British-Namibian heritage to make discursive works that explore personal histories and colonial legacies inscribed in the body and land. Often creating audio-visual outcomes rooted in performance, collage and sound ecologies, Libita’s work seeks to usher subversive pathways into the present through reimagining materiality, movement and collective healing in relationship to the environment.

She is the (2022) recipient of both the Paul Hamlyn and Arts Foundation Future awards. Exhibitions have been presented with; Kunsthall Trondheim, Norway (2023); Sonsbeek, Netherlands, (2021); Spike Island, Gasworks, (UK), Cabaret Voltaire, Switzerland, (2019); Kalashnikovv Gallery, Johannesburg (2018); Diaspora Pavilion, 57th Venice Biennale (2017).

Kayle Brandon

An interdisciplinary artist and educator who works within public and social contexts. Making works which are embedded in specific sites, places and communities. Brandon is interested in the role of art within the everyday and works to engage audiences in several ways from intentional participation through to the incidental witness.


Imani Mason Jordan

An interdisciplinary writer, artist, editor and facilitator based in London. They are one half of the artistic and curatorial collaboration Languid Hands, who were the Curatorial Fellows at Cubitt (2020–22) and curators of the LIVE programme for FRIEZE 2021.


Felix Taylor

South London based artist working with different audio media to create soundscapes and collages, for radio, installation and film. Felix’s work often explores themes of history, comfort and beauty through speech, environmental recordings, sound design and music. As of this year he has begun to explore audio based programming and procedurally generated audio. Previous work features include; soundscapes for NTS and 1020 radio, exhibition soundtracks at We The Curious museum (Bristol), workshops led at The Arnolfini (Bristol) and performances at The Jewish Museum (London).


Edson Burton

A poet and writer of drama for radio, stage and screen. His work has been produced by Show of Strength, Trinity Community Arts and the Bristol Old Vic. He is co-founder of Black theatre company Dip & Fall Back, and is a Bristol Old Vic Associate Artist.

His academic interests include Afrofuturism, the transatlantic slave trade, and race and representation. He has worked as a consultant and coordinator for national and regional history-based projects.


Valda Jackson

A multidisciplinary artist and a published writer. Jackson creates complex narratives that reflect and interrogate our past and present. Her work is about existence and survival, entitlement, and above all, dignity; themes which extend into her public art commissions, where the personal becomes universal.


Maria Christoforidou

An artist, writer and researcher. She was born in Zambia, grew up in Greece and has spent most of her adult life in the UK. The insoluble differences of these environments are powerful incentives toward theory. A lateral approach to critical theory of image, language and their combinations is the foundation of her practice. She uses research and collaboration in different formats – lectures, workshops, events, written and visual essays, publishing – to explore the political, physical and performative implications of writing and photography.


Shawn-Naphtali Sobers

Professor of Cultural Interdisciplinary Practice at University of the West of England (UWE Bristol). His work includes projects on legacies of slavery in Bristol, Bath, and Nottinghamshire; African presence in Georgian and Victorian Britain; disability and walking; Rastafari language and culture; and creative citizenship in social media.

His work has been exhibited and screened nationally and internationally, and he has directed and produced documentaries for BBC, ITV, and Channel 4. Principles relating to community media and participatory practice underpin much of his work. His book, Black Everyday Lives, Material Culture and Narrative: Tings in de House, was published in 2023.


Fozia Ismail

Founder and researcher at Arawelo Eats, a supper club which explores East African food and what it can mean for our understanding of belonging in a post-Brexit world. She has designed and delivered workshops/presentations for organizations such as Keep It Complex Serpentine Gallery, Jerwood Project Space and Tate.