Zakiya McKenzie and Anthea Hamilton in conversation, facilitated by Shama Khanna

As part of Studio Voltaire Open House 2021, Shama Khanna (Flatness) facilitated a conversation between Zakiya McKenzie and Anthea Hamilton, exploring the artists’ recent projects and their wider practices.

Writer, researcher and storyteller Zakiya McKenzie was in residence at Studio Voltaire, undertaking a climate chronology of the Caribbean, exploring environmental uncertainty, food security and climate past, present and future. Her residency research draws out and expands themes that emerged through the formulation of Anthea Hamilton’s garden, considering the practicalities of decolonising horticulture and our gardens more widely.

Artist Anthea Hamilton’s new, permanent garden forms the entrance to our buildings, and was inspired by vernacular gardens of South London. Designed to be used by visitors, local residents and onsite artists, the planting scheme combines ornamental flowers and shrubs with edible plants. Organic surfaces with formal structures and tactile finishes complement the garden’s raised beds, pergola, seating areas, fountain and tiled walkway.

  1. Zakiya McKenzie was born in South London, raised in Kingston and now lives in the southwest of England. In 2019 she was Writer in Residence for Forestry England and, at Ujima 98FM in Bristol, she was a Black and Green Ambassador in 2017. Zakiya is a PhD candidate at the University of Exeter with the Caribbean Literary Heritage project researching Black British journalism in the post–war period.

  2. Anthea Hamilton was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2016. Large–scale solo exhibitions have included The Squash at Tate Britain (2018), Anthea Hamilton Reimagines Kettle’s Yard at The Hepworth Wakefield (2016) and Lichen! Libido! Chastity! at the SculptureCenter in New York (2015).

  3. Shama Khanna is an independent curator, writer and educator from London. They are the founder of Flatness, a long–running online platform for artists’ moving image and network culture invested in curating through a decolonial feminist lens, and are based at Studio Voltaire.

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