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War Inna Babylon:
The Community’s Struggle for Truths and Rights
Institute of Contemporary Arts
Photograph: Robert Croma

7 July – 26 September 2021

While War Inna Babylon was originally scheduled to open in May 2020 – the delay due to Covid-19 – has inadvertently made this the most timely exhibition it could possibly be.

In light of events over the past year, that have shown how little value is placed on Black lives – the COVID-19 Public Health England Review, BLM demonstrations, the Sewell washout, the increased use of police violence, and stop and search procedures against members of the Black community – we view this as the perfect time to focus on grassroots activism in Black frontline communities across the UK; which have been at the forefront of resisting state oppression and creating unfounded change for racial justice since the 1970s.

The Institute of Contemporary Arts reopens on July 6th with War Inna Babylon: The Community’s Struggle for Truths and Rights, an exhibition curated by London-based racial advocacy and community organisation, Tottenham Rights, together with independent curators Kamara Scott and Rianna Jade Parker.

Ten years on from the UK-wide riots sparked by the police killing of Mark Duggan, this exhibition shines a light on the vast range of collective actions, resistance and grassroots activism undertaken by Black communities across the U.K in response to over seven decades of societal and institutional racism. 

Using the ‘symbolic location’ of Tottenham, a neighbourhood that has received much attention in recent years due to its history of racial conflicts and heavy-handed policing; this exhibition combines archival material, documentary photography, film and state-of-the art 3D technology to ‘act as a window to the past and as a mirror for our present-day social climate’.  

War Inna Babylon will chronicle the impact of various forms of state violence and institutional racism targeted at Britain’s Black communities since the mass arrival-upon-invitation of West Indian migrants in the late 1940s. 

The exhibition will include original tributes from victims’ families, case studies of the controversial 'sus’ (suspected person) laws and the Gangs’ Matrix and highlights legal developments that have resulted from Black justice campaigns.  

War Inna Babylon will also present a new investigation into the killing of Mark Duggan by Forensic Architecture.

The exhibition, the first of its kind to accurately assess the conditions of Black lives across Britain, will be accompanied by an extensive public programme presented both in Tottenham and at the ICA that will include film screenings, community educational groups, talks, cultural events, performances, painting, and a digital presentation focusing on the interrelation between artificial intelligence (AI) and racism. 

This exhibition is part of an ICA programme dedicated to racial justice, social justice and liveable futures for all, with programme highlights including the return of the ICA’s Artists Film Club; a week-long convening dedicated to the experimental writing of M. NourbeSe Philip; and Dykegeist, a choreographic work by Eve Stainton and Mica Levi. See more on the ICA’s programme here.

With special thanks to artists and collaborators:

Forensic Architecture, Daniel Amoakoh, Remee Bailey, Sarah Booker, Vanley Burke, Pogus Caesar, Ceddo Film and Video Workshop, Robert Croma, Kimathi Donkor, Garnet Dore, Lloyd Gardner, Howard Grey, Henry Jacobs, Colin Jones, Neil Kenlock, Weyland McKenzie, Nigel Norie, Simon Phipps, Menelik Shabazz, Russ Swan, Homer Sykes, Sharron Wallace, Andrew Wiard, Janine Wiedel.

And organisations:

Bernie Grant Trust, Black Cultural Archives, British Pathé, Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service), George Padmore Institute, Getty Images, Institute of Race Relations, Magnum Photos, Media Archive for Central England at University of Lincoln, Report digital, Senate House Library, Shutterstock, Yorkshire Film Archive.


The exhibition is open to the public from 12 – 9pm, Tuesday – Sunday.

Tuesday: Free for all visitors

Wednesday – Sunday: £5 (+ £1 booking fee for non-Members), free for all ICA Members

Free exhibition entry with every ticket to the cinema or theatre.

Please book your timed entry slot here to avoid disappointment. Walk-ins will be permitted although entry time will depend on capacity in the galleries.

Entry times will be staggered although visitors will not be timed and are welcome to spend as much time in the exhibition as they would like.

Full access information is available here

Past Programme

Stream talks and recordings from the exhibition on Cinema 3

Sunday 1 August
Franco Rosso’s cult classic pulsates with an irresistible dub soundtrack, capturing South London’s Sound System culture in the early 1980s.

Friday 6 August
The Riots + Q&A
A unique screening of a recording documenting the play The Riots, directed by Gillian Slovo, based on accounts from those involved in the 2011 riots.

Saturday 7 August
Tottenham Rights & Forensic Architecture
A presentation, discussion and Q&A from Stafford Scott, coordinator of Tottenham Rights, and Forensic Architecture on the 10th anniversary of the English riots beginning in Tottenham.

Saturday 7 August
The Hard Stop + Q&A
This screening of The Hard Stop will be followed by a discussion and Q&A with director George Amponsah and co-writer Dionne Walker.

Saturday 21 August
The Institutionalisation of Racism
Guest speakers participate in a day’s programme of events considering the Institutionalisation of Racism in 20th and 21st century Britain.

Sunday 22 August
Young Rebels on the Streets: Racism and Resistance in Southall from 1976 to 1981
Guest speakers from The Monitoring Group examine Institutional Racism and the origins of their organisation.

Saturday 28 August
Broadwater Farm Revisited
A day-long event on the Broadwater Farm Youth Association and the story of the Tottenham Three.

Sunday 29 August
Ragamuffin + Q&A
A unique screening of a recording that documents Amani Naphtali’s play Ragamuffin, followed by a Q&A.

Saturday 4 September
Corrupt Practices
Guest speakers interrogate the UK’s criminal justice system and the disproportionate policing and imprisonment of BAME individuals.

Saturday 18 September
Deaths in Custody
The United Families & Friends Campaign (UFFC) and charity INQUEST co-present on family campaigns followed by a screening of RIP Seni, and Suresh Grover (The Monitoring Group) and Yvette Williams (Justice for Grenfell) present on race and state accountability.

Sunday 19 September
Ultraviolence + Lawful Killing + Q&As
Screenings of documentaries Lawful Killing and Ultraviolence, followed by Q&As with directors Jaimie D’Cruz and Ken Fero. Introduced by War Inna Babylon co-curator Stafford Scott.

Tuesday 21 September
Members’ Tour of War Inna Babylon: The Community’s Struggle for Truths and Rights
Exclusive ICA Members guided tour led by exhibition curators Stafford Scott, Kamara Scott and Rianna Jade Parker.

Saturday 25 September
The People’s Verdict
The final event in the War Inna Babylon exhibition events programme takes a deeper look at the Forensic Architecture investigation in this discussion.

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