Rosa-Johan Uddoh

She is still alive!

public artwork

On display 2022–2023
Southwark Park and Brunswick Park

Rosa-Johan Uddoh has been co-commissioned by Southwark Park Galleries and The Bower to create two new artworks for the public flagpoles in Southwark Park and basketball court in Brunswick Park. Launched during Black History Month and exhibited for a full year, the work will celebrate the life and work of Southwark resident Una Marson (1905–65). Marson was a British-Jamaican activist, radio producer, presenter and poet renowned for her pioneering anti-colonial, anti-racist, feminist and pan-African activism and the first Black radio producer at the BBC in 1942.

The flags feature the quote: ‘I hope you remember a girl by the name of Una Marson….she is still alive!’, which is taken from Marson’s letter requesting a reference for her time at the BBC that she sent years after her employers aided her forced deportation to Jamaica.

The works are a continuation of Uddoh’s sound piece Una’s Voice exhibited at The Bower which draws on the legacy of Marson’s BBC radio programme Caribbean Voices that broadcast Caribbean writing. Made with current Southwark residents from the Caribbean diaspora, Uddoh’s sound work re-visits and re-presents Marson’s poetry, interwoven with her own writing, and draws upon Bajan poet Kamau Brathwaite’s key text ‘History of the Voice’ (1984), which asserted the Caribbean voice as a distinct nation language.

She is still alive! is supported by Southwark Council’s Black History Month Grant and Arts Council England.

Photography: Jonathan Bassett