We all know Somerset House as being one of the most stunning buildings in London with scenery set for refined exhibitions and long-established music series. Now, the Neoclassical edifice, located between the Thames and the Strand, is also spreading its name as an alternative cultural hub. An example of the new trend is represented by Get Up, Stand Up Now, an event series, next to an exhibition, aiming to expose and honour “the impact of 50 years of black creativity in Britain”.
The organisers have gathered together 100 artists (among them, musicians, photographers, writers, filmmakers, designers and stylists) to explore, debate and present the African diaspora cultural heritage and its social and political connotations.
From 12th June till mid-September, Somerset House Studios will indeed host gigs, DJ-sets, audio-visual pieces, spoken word and poetry shows, and club nights presenting some compelling artists who are providing new interpretations about the critical subject.
There will be highlights such as Dreaming / Diasporas, on 14th June, curated by Tabitha Thorlu-Bangura (or TTB when behind the DJ decks) and featuring sets played by Zakia Sewell and Amey St.Cyr (respectively daughter and mother); Estelle Birch (from NTS), Hannah Catherine Jones (founder of the Peckham Chamber Orchestra) and Dominican-American DJ and producer Kelman Duran and his laptop brimming with dancehall and reggaeton hip-hop.
Or there’s the three-day residency of the Black Obsidian Sound System (B.O.S.S.) in mid-July (16th, 19th and 26th), which aims to raise awareness and support the struggle of “queer, trans and non-binary people of colour involved in art, sound and radical activism”.
Then, in early August, Get Up, Stand Up Now will present The Deep End; an evening of spoken word, poetry and performances, shining a light on the black identity discourse. Hosted by Nadeem Din-Gabisi, who focuses her artistic work on the mental health issues suffered by the young black people living in London, she will be accompanied by DJs Coby Sey and Momoko Watanabe Gill, artist Kobby Adi, post-punk vocalist Farai Bukowski-Bouquet from the London-based duo Farai, who will be performing her latest album Rebirth, and Zimbabwean writer and educator Belinda Zhawi.
Between Wednesday and mid-September, Get Up, Stand Up Now will offer you an original way to relate with and experience Somerset House, but what’s more, it will also offer you an eye- (and ear) opening and much-needed event series in the London cultural panorama.