15 September – 22 October 2022
Ben Brown Fine Arts London
12 Brook’s Mews
London W1K 4DG

Ben Brown Fine Arts is pleased to announce Ghosts of Empires II, an exhibition curated by Ghanaian-American curator and cultural critic Larry Ossei-Mensah. Taking place at Ben Brown Fine Arts London (15 September – 22 October 2022), the exhibition seeks to explore the intersections, overlaps, and dissonance between the Black Atlantic and Asia Imperialist Trade routes and brings together an extraordinary group of contemporary artists hailing from African and Asian diasporas. This seminal exhibition features the work of Hurvin Anderson, Adam de Boer, Delphine Desane, Theaster Gates, Jeanne F. Jalandoni, Tidawhitney Lek, Chris Ofili, Fadekemi Ogunsanya, Maia Cruz Palileo, Miguel Angel Payano Jr., Paul Anthony Smith, Zao Wou-Ki and Livien Yin.

GHOSTS OF EMPIRES ll - Jeanne F. Jalandoni, Sugarcane Milkfish, 2021-22, Oil on canvas
Jeanne F. Jalandoni, Sugarcane Milkfish, 2021-22, Oil on canvas, weaving and machine knit sewn to canvas, pastel, resin, epoxy, 172.7 x 162.6 cm; (68 x 64 in.)

Inspired by the formative text by British-Ghanaian author and MP Kwasi Kwarteng, Ghosts of Empire: Britain’s Legacies in the Modern World, the exhibition at its crux is an examination of how artists from African and Asian diasporas are using their artistic practices as a platform to engage with the legacies of slavery, migration, colonialism, imperialism trade, and sovereignty, in contemporary times.

By amplifying the conscious acts of liberation, resistance, and perseverance these communities have exhibited – despite their historical circumstances – Ghosts of Empires II will provide a forum for a nuanced understanding of their collective diasporic histories. The curatorial process seeks to present dialogues and points of view that illustrate how these narratives cross, intermingle, and overlap. By finding the reverberations and echoes across time and space, calling attention to the fact that the residue of the past is omnipresent, and that history, culture, and identity are neither linear nor easily demarcated.

GHOSTS OF EMPIRES ll - Livien Yin, Poppies, 2022, Acrylic on linen, 137.2 x 106.7 cm; (54 x 42 in.)
Livien Yin, Poppies, 2022, Acrylic on linen, 137.2 x 106.7 cm; (54 x 42 in.)

Working in painting, photography, sculpture, textiles, and myriad mixed media, employing both traditional and new techniques, these artists have all found ways to examine their unique and often multifarious cultural histories via their rigorous artistic practices.

“After reading Kwasi Kwarteng’s book ‘Ghosts of Empire’, I was struck by the specter of colonialism and imperialism in our macro and micro-environments; so, I wanted to investigate what role art and culture plays in cracking open this conversation to a broader audience.

Given what is happening in all corners of the world it felt appropriate to organize an exhibition that not only articulates the nuances of the Black and Asian diasporal experience but also asks questions about how these communities have persevered and shaped the cultural fabric of our global society.”

Larry Ossei-Mensah

The exhibition Ghosts of Empires ll at Ben Brown Fine Arts London comprises the culmination of a two-part group exhibition which was presented in its first iteration at Ben Brown Fine Arts Hong Kong earlier this year.


©2022 Ben Brown Fine Arts, Larry Ossei-Mensah