My latest commission has been working to create a mural for HOME to celebrate Black History Month. My aim with was to create a piece which elevates the importance and impact that people of colour have had in Britain over the centuries.
“Mancara Jack” draws on the vibrant life and energy present in African wax cloth and I hope it will invite conversation amongst those who see it and spark joy in passers by. As a black woman of mixed British-Jamaican heritage, this was an incredibly personal and pertinent commission and one I am incredibly proud of. Having the platform to express my cultural identity, mixing the traditional elements of my ancestors with the incredible people of Manchester is something close to my heart.
For the mural I created three separate prints to make up a subverted Union Jack, full of the colour and life people of colour have brought and contributed to the UK over the years. Some of the motifs may be familiar to those who wear and love Ankara fabrics, others draw on British street art for a glorious modern approach that aim to cross cultural boundaries.
The prints are Mancara One, the first in the series that speaks of the growth and perseverance both myself and people of colour have experienced and endured over the last year in particular.
Mancara Vybe is made up of fluid marks and strokes, with people-shaped elements to help centre and communicate the incredible dynamism and energy brought to the forefront by the black community and its culture.
Finally we have Mancara Fragments, an emotional tribute to the way people of colour have been marginalised, separated and categorised throughout history, often with devastating effects. The idea of the classic stained glass window comes through to reflect this fragmentation while the vivid colour and playful shapes, I hope, bring a sense of freedom and relief from the constraints of the past.
It is my hope that this mural not only makes viewers happy and brightens up the colder days to come, but starts conversations and encourages people to ask questions about the many different prints, colours, and people that make up Mancara Jack; that is can be the symbol of community and togetherness that I think we all need right now.
Process Reel: Making of a Mancara
Exhbition page: Venessa Scott: Mancara Jack - HOME (homemcr.org)