Throughout October, a series of art installations and performances celebrating Black History Month will be unveiled along traffic-free National Cycle Network routes in Scotland.
Black History Month is a month-long celebration of Black history, held in the UK throughout October since 1987.
The eight pieces along National Cycle Network routes celebrate notable Black people from Scotland's history, and key events that have made Scotland the country it is today.
They will also highlight Scotland’s role in the transatlantic slave trade.
Black History Month events along the National Cycle Network
- Jim Muotune has created a film about the past, present and future of cycling in Glasgow focussing on the extraordinary career of 1899 world champion cyclist Major Marshall W Taylor and Rhashid Khalik CEO of Soul Riders. His film will be screened outside at the Glasgow Science Centre (location), accessible from National Cycle Network Route 7 from the 1 - 23 October.
- Ojo Taiye has written powerful poems around slavery and injustices to Black people, which will create a short trail along the Glasgow – Clyde walkway (location), National Cycle Network Route 75. The poems will be available to read throughout October.
- Grace Browne has created a mural Triptych of traditional African women’s mural painting with inspiration from three mural styles, designed to weather over the course of the month. The project celebrates the beauty, creativity and ingenuity of African women's art and contributions to the built environment. Grace’s mural can be found on Glasgow Green (location), National Cycle Network Route 75, from 1 -31 October.
- Moira Salt has found inspiration from Jackie Kay’s Lamplighter. She will create a sculptural performance work that uses materials found along the coasts of Scotland that gestures to the treatment of Slaves, and the experience of Black and Brown bodies within a diaspora. Moira’s work can be found at Bowling Harbour (location) on National Cycle Network Route 7 throughout October with performances on the 2, 16 and 30 October.
- Senanu Tordzro looks to highlight and celebrate her culture and home in Ghana and has created a trail using traditional Ghanaian Adrinka Symbols with links to her animations along the waterfront in Dundee (location) on National Cycle Network Route 77. Her artwork will also feature on 22 poster sites in nearby Slessor Gardens (location). Senanu will run cycling tours along the waterfront on 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 October (times tbc).
- Harvey Dimond looks to examine the relationship between the climate crisis, anti-Blackness and homo/trans-phobia. Harvey’s project will feature 4 Sandstone monoliths bearing the names of slaves who were used to build the wealth of Robert Gordon and the Montgreenan House estate in North Ayrshire. Their piece can be found throughout October near Kilwinning (location) along National Cycle Network Route 7.
- Mark Tremaine Agbi ‘Okata’ will be running events on the 9 and 16 October in Edinburgh - St Andrews Square (location) with live music performances, talks and visual art. Mark will also create a mural in the Rodney Street Tunnel (location) on National Cycle Network Route 75 which will be available to view at all times.
- Becky Sikasa has created original music with inspiration from the poem ‘In My Country’ by Jackie Kay. Becky will perform her music live at 2 events – at Bridge 8 (lcoation) on National Cycle Network Route 754 and at a site on the Water of Leith (location) on National Cycle Network Route 75. The dates are to be confirmed.
Celebrating diversity through art
Cosmo Blake, Art and Diversity Coordinator at Sustrans Scotland, said:
"This project celebrates Black History Month through a series of public artworks, located on much-loved National Cycle Network routes.
"Together with our steering group, we commissioned 8 artists to deliver unique artworks or performances on the National Cycle Network in Scotland.
The commissions include sculptures, murals, digital art, poetry, music, theatre; all taking place along the Network throughout October."
Marie-Claire U. Nyinawumuntu, Sustrans Senior Engineer and member of the Black History Month steering group added:
"When we allow ourselves to explore and see the world through someone’s else perspective, we grow as a result.
"I am hoping through a variety of creations by these exceptionally talented artists, a new understanding will be reached”.
What is Black History Month?
Black History Month is a month-long celebration of the history of Black People in the UK, held in October in the UK since 1987.
Black History Month focuses on people whose sacrifices, contributions and achievements against a backdrop of racism, inequality and injustice are often forgotten about.
CRER (the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights) state that Black History Month in Scotland “encompasses the history of African, Caribbean and Asian people in this country; people who often have a direct link with Scotland through slavery, colonialism and migration.”
We recognise this statement and have aligned with it for this project.