Keeping the case alive

Stephen Lawrence
Stephen Lawrence
Southsea Alternative Choir. Picture: Paul Windsor

REVIEW: The Southsea Alternative Choir at Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

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An art installation based on the Stephen Lawrence murder case looks set to challenge audiences through sound more than 20 years on.

The tragic events surrounding the racially motivated murder of the black teenager, who was stabbed to death while waiting for a bus in 1993, are revisited at the University of Chichester’s Otter Gallery from today to December 6.

The exhibition presents a multi-channel sound installation developed by London-based visual artist and educator Tahera Aziz, taking the notion of the daily routine of waiting at the bus stop as its starting point.

Visitors are encouraged to place themselves in the position of ‘witness’ and generate their own mental images of events as they experience the installation – a sonic reconstruction which allows them to engage with the complex and multi-layered narratives associated with the case.  

The installation explores the disruption of the everyday to bring the murder to the foreground, highlighting detailed elements that have particular resonance.

The work is part of the process involved in struggling to preserve the memory of the Stephen Lawrence case, which has had a deep impact in public life.

Aziz has used transcripts from the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report to build up a picture of what happened on the evening of his death. She has worked with a group of actors to develop the dialogue and a field-recording artist and sound engineer to experiment with simultaneous multi-channel recording and audio compositional techniques.

Tahera Aziz will be at the gallery on October 14 and November 27 from 12.30-1.30pm for two ‘meet the artist’ sessions.