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Test Space: Curated by Anika Deb and Stacey Olika

Why are we not here?

Test Space: Curated by Anika Deb and Stacey Olika

Why are we not here?

why are we not here? Courtesy Anika Deb and Stacey Olika



Preview: Friday 3 May 2019, 6–9pm (poetry and Spoken Word performances 7.30–9pm)

An exhibition exploring issues of institutional racism and marginalised representation in arts institutions by diaspora artists, curated by Rising artists, Stacey Olika and Anika Deb, in response to an invitation from Test Space, Bristol.

At last year’s artist-run Multiverse Summit held at Eastside Projects, Birmingham, The White Pube delivered a hard hitting provocation to all artist-led spaces within the UK, challenging their complacency and unacknowledged racial bias. Urging artist led spaces to tackle institutional racism and the lack of presence of people of colour within the arts at all levels, it triggered a direct response from Test Space at Spike Island who, as a first step, have initiated the project, ‘Why Are We Not Here?

This exhibition – launched over Spike Island’s busy Open Studios weekend – showcased the work of eight artists who work with sound, installation, print, poetry and painting mediums, including a programme of talks and workshops that further questioned the complacency of arts institutions.

Featured artists: Courtenay Welcome, Donnell Asare, Kiara Corales, Nadia Lloyd, Nick Ogri, Fatima Murtala, Leeza Awojobi, and Jasmine Thompson.


Panel discussion featuring Stacey Olika, Dr. Shawn Sobers, Michele Curtis and Mark Samsworth

Exhibition photographs:

Test Space is programmed by studio holders based at Spike Island and offers artists a chance to exhibit new works and test ideas. Artists from within the Spike Island community and beyond are included.

Stacey Olika

Stacey Olika is a graphic designer, creative director, curator and speaker. She is currently leading a number of projects, working as Programme Support Assistant for UWE Graphic Design leading its speaker series and degree show publication focusing on engaged conversations about race.  She is also a youth board member for Rising Arts Agency and creative director for Africa Week UK.

Anika Deb

Anika Deb is multidisciplinary artist and practicing curator. She has recently been involved in Bristol Museum and Art Gallery’s Young Exhibition Producer’s Programme, producing and curating a show for a young audience in response to the Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing exhibition. She is currently a fellow at Spike Island and co-runs artist led space Latch, programming arts, music and film events.

Rising Arts Agency

Rising Arts Agency is a Bristol-based social enterprise founded by Spike Island studio artist Kamina Walton, and run by and for young creative thinkers. They are a diverse, agile community who advocate for radical sector and cultural change through research projects, industry consultation and creative agency services.

Read an interview with Stacey Olika in Bristol 24/7

Test Space, Why are we not here (2019) Photograph by Lisa Whiting
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