Breath of Asase Yaa

Audio composition, 2020


Made as part of the exhibition: When The Sky Falls (and comissioned by John Hansard Gallery), Breath of Asase Yaa accompanied new moving image, and sculptural works that brought together childhood ruminations, Akan deities and speculative future histories.

Unnamed narrators from Achiampong’s most recent film, The Expulsion, guided visitors through a subterranea of ‘invisible’ workers, invoking an east London bruised from the effects of the national recession of the early 1990s. For this exhibition, John Hansard Gallery’s main space was transformed into a purgatorial space based on non-descript and deeply familiar office spaces, iconic to the West African diaspora as representing the bittersweet sting of surviving forced migration.

In the installation Attack of the Henrys, sphinx-like anthropomorphised vacuum cleaners create a formation of nightmarish guards with rictus smiles and rhinotomies, seemingly in thrall of the gentle undulations of Achiampiong’s sound work Breath of Asase Yaa (the Ashanti divine mother).


Breath of Asase Yaa is an artwork made with funding from the John Hansard Gallery.

© Larry Achiampong