As a Globe Artist for The World Reimagined, I designed the 1.7m tall ‘Maize & Grace’ sculpture, which depicted the courageous untold stories of African environmental heroes & sovereignty guardians. It has since toured the country and exhibited in Trafalgar Square with talks in the House of Lords to worldwide live TV interviews on BBC Global’s BBC World News to BBC Africa.
The World Reimagined is an internationally-renowned arts education and trail project that is hosted across seven cities across the UK with local, national and international partners, from Bristol, London, Brighton, Leicester, Leeds, Swansea, and Birmingham.
My Mother Africa-themed piece, ‘Maize & Grace: The Courageous Untold Stories of Afrikan Environmental Heroes & Sovereignty Guardians’ was originally designed as part of the Bristol trail. Utilising key symbolism and references, it highlights and reimagines much of the inspirational parts of global history, where the untold stories of African environmental heroes and sovereignty guardians are centred. Inspired by the eclectic aesthetics, textures and history from the continent, I’ve incorporated my ‘Naturtraits’ style, which distinctly illustrates the connection between humans and nature through collaged silhouettes. Each section brings to life reimagined parts of our pre-colonial, traditional and colonial history as well as our present day reality and future potential. It aims to honour those who bravely fought for justice and our rights by reimagining them depicted in the dignity and peace in death that they didn’t always receive while alive, and celebrate those who are paving the way for a brighter future.
Despite representing 5-6% of the global population, indigineous people protect 80% of the world’s biodiversity. By focusing on the significant environmental legacy across the continent, it brings to light many of the courageous stories of those who have dedicated their lives to protecting the biodiversity of our richly diverse lands as well as our rights to a healthier, greener life – preserving it for future generations to come. Likewise, this same approach honours the untold stories of our sovereignty guardians, who showed bravery in times of great vulnerability, as well as the significance of our global pre-colonial influence – a reminder of our potential and worth outside of Western context.
Untold stories features the next generation of environmentalists, represented by Vanessa Nakate to brave ancestors like Ken Saro-Wiwa, president of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People who was executed in response to their activism against oil extraction in Ogoniland. Also features stories of great rulers, from the diasbled Queen Amanirenas of Kush and her legendary golden arrows and influence of Mansa Musa to traditional legacies, such as Àdìǹkrá symbols and Griots who keep traditions alive to this day.
Work-in-progress photography of Emma Blake Morsi and the 1.7m ‘Maize & Grace’ globe in the studio.
Emma Blake Morsi re-uniting with her Globe at its original location of Fort Gardens, University of Bristol, Bristol.
Details of The World Reimagined’s Bristol trail before the globes were moved to Trafalgar Square, London for 19-20 November 2022.