Art installation based on the ‘Stephen Lawrence’ murder case

Art installation based on the

The tragic racist murder of black student Stephen Lawrence is still as poignantly relevant today as it was sixteen years ago, when the case was propelled into Britain’s media spotlight.

The subsequent groundbreaking public inquiry into the police handling of the case forms the nucleus of a gritty audio-visual installation by artist Tahera Aziz. [re]locate makes its Northern premiere in late November at Union 105 – a new LEEDS-based inner city contemporary art space created by ESA (East Street Arts).

[re]locate revisits an ordinarily public ‘place’ that retains the traces of a deeply significant event; it is concerned with the processes involved in struggling to preserve the memory of that event whilst offering new insights.

[re]locate stages a sonic reconstruction focusing on the bus stop on Well Hall Road in Eltham, South London (SE9), where Stephen Lawrence was fatally injured following an unprovoked racially motivated attack by a
gang of white youths.


Artist Tahera Aziz uses transcripts from the inquiry report to build up a picture of what happened on that fateful night, and exploits audio storytelling to encourage the audience to generate their own mental images of the events.

Aziz challenges the audience by putting them into the position of three witnesses who were standing at the bus stop on the night of April 22 1993 and who, according to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, boarded a bus shortly after the attack. Aziz poses thought-provoking questions by asking what the audience would do if faced with the same predicament.


[re]locate has been four years in the making and is an artistic response to a horrific event that managed to extend its reach into public
consciousness. The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry cited ‘institutional racism’ as a key factor in the police’s mishandling of the murder investigation. The case goes down in UK judicial history as a major miscarriage of

“The agonising story of Stephen Lawrence touched the lives of a generation with the inquiry marking a turning point in Britain’s approach to race relations, highlighting issues relating to policing and the Black and
minority ethnic communities. Young people may not have directly heard of Stephen Lawrence but they’ll be able to make immediate connections with the issues raised by the artwork,” said London-based artist Tahera Aziz.

Tahera Aziz has had a longstanding creative and political interest in identity, migration and racism. She teaches in Arts and Media at London
South Bank University.

Aziz concludes by reflecting on how art can be vehicle for exploring social issues: “Artists continue to offer new insights into real life and everyday experiences – disrupting our perceptions in unexpected and imaginative ways. I know that art will never fully rectify the problems in society, but I hope it can act as a catalyst for discussion about social change.”


ESA and Union 105:

It’s fitting to have [re]locate as the first installation to mark the opening of Union 105, as 105 Chapeltown Road – where the gallery is based – found itself labelled as an area of Leeds that was notorious for social upheaval sparking a need for an inspiring creative space [Union 105] that could act as a pivotal cornerstone for the community.

Union 105 is an exciting development for ESA as they look to create an environment that will enable people to meet face to face and engage
directly with art by attending contemporary exhibitions and contributing through creative debate. The gallery space is also a true reflection of how ESA plans to engage with new communities in the Yorkshire region and
ultimately leading to the re-animation of life on Chapeltown Road, showing how art can transform, inspire and encourage.

ESA’s vision has always been to create ‘space’ for artists and other creative people to develop their work and their careers locally,
nationally and internationally.

Karen Watson, co-founder and Artistic Director of ESA talks about why it’s essential for venues like Union 105 to exhibit topical installations in the mould of [re]locate. She said: “It is important that artists explore
social and political issues such as knife crime, as the work they produce or the process they go through enables more complex debate to take place or more diverse range of voices to be heard.

“Without the expression from artists or activists, we rely on the media to report information which cannot be separated form their own agenda’s. Art can present challenging issues to us but it cannot necessarily give us


[re]locate opens at Union 105 on 23 November and runs through until 4 December. The gallery space opening times are Monday – Friday, 12 – 5pm, admission is free. [Venue address – 105 Chapeltown Road, LEEDS, LS7 3HY].

For further information about [re]locate and ESA then please visit the official website (a detailed synopsis about the installation can be found in the What’s On section of the website) it also lists additional discussion events linked to the show.

There will also be a discussion event called “What can the arts do in society?” on Tuesday 24 November 2009, 6-8 pm at the Savile Room, Leeds Media Centre, Savile Mount, Leeds LS7 (free admission – fully accessible).


Media Contact (for all interview and photography requests)

Garry Smith – Strictly Press

M: 0789 9910823

Region: All
Start Date: 23/11/2009
End Date: 04/12/2009
Start Time: 12:00
Venue: Union 105
Venue Address: 105 Chapeltown Road, Leeds
Press Tickets: Not Available
Sponsorship: Not Available
Press Tickets:
Name: Garry Smith
Phone: 07899910823