A new mural celebrating the 1981 Brixton Uprising by R.A.D Mural Collective

Entitled “The Wall of Respect for the Radical Histories of Railton Road” the mural commemorates the 40 year anniversary of the Brixton Uprisings of the 1980’s. It features on the side of the newly redeveloped 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning on Railton Road and has been led by Jacob V Joyce, afro futurist illustrator, art activist and muralist.

On the 10th of April 1981 Brixton became a battleground as communities unleashed their frustration at a climate of racism and police harassment. Railton Road, once referred to as ‘the front line’ housed  many radical activist groups who stood against racism, sexism and homophobia in the post war period. The UK Chapter of the Black Panther Party, The Brixton Black Women’s Group, The Race Today Collective and the Gay Liberation Front were all based in the area.

The mural draws inspiration from these local histories of resistance as well as broader Pan African opposition to injustice, police brutality and systemic oppressions. These include a banner from local activist group B.A.S.H (Black People Against State Harassment) and revellers from the 1881 Canboulay uprising in Trinidad & Tobago.

The mural is a work of joy and pride. Based on an initial design by Jacob V Joyce and Monique Jackson, the work evolved through the process of painting and speaking with residents to reflect community voices. It was commissioned to coincide with the re-opening of the 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning following major redevelopment of the site. The new building offers greatly extended education resources, with the mural as a learning resource to chronicle and amplify historical anti-racist narratives.

Artists Ailsa Yexley, Parastou Miri, Hannah Catherine Jones, Iman Mahdy, Buki Bayode, Sola Olulode worked together with Jacob V Joyce and Monique Jackson, as a team of mural painters over several weeks and decided off the back of this to form R.A.D (Reanimating Archives of the Diaspora ) Mural Collective to continue collaborating and creating public artwork.

The following historical references, sites and individuals are depicted  in the mural:

  • Nehanda & the chimurenga uprising
  • Pearl Alcock
  • 121 Books – 1973
  • Women’s centre
  • Rotimi Fani Kayode
  • Olive Morris
  • Liz Obe
  • Sound system
  • Power to the people poster / orange poster
  • Darcus Howe
  • CLR James supplementary school
  • BLM protesting firefighters
  • Cherry Groce
  • Darcus Howe
  • South Hall Uprising
  • Adinkra Symbols
  • Canboulay stick fighter and fire breather
  • Blue Jab Jab (blue child)
  • Blue plaque
  • Black and White Cafe
  • B.A.S.H
  • Althea Jones Lecointe

Inspiration was also drawn from the following archival photos of the period: The Man in the Doorway, Roller Skate kid, Fund youth services Not prisons, Stop gentrification, Squatters, Couple in window.