London Underground Roundel, 2022

Art on the Underground permanent commission for Westminster station, this roundel will remain permanently installed above the main entrance to the station on Westminster Bridge Road, enlarged and rendered in vibrant vitreous enamel and painted metal colours.

A re-imagining of the iconic London Underground roundel logo which for more than 100 years has been both a navigation tool and an instantly recognisable symbol for London. This version replaces the traditional red and blue design with Pan African colours that speak symbolically to African diasporic identities in acknowledgement of their contributions and presence in London. Green, black and red reflect the land, the people and the struggles the African continent has endured, while yellow-gold represents a new day and prosperity. Incorporated around the edge of the roundel are 54 stars, representing each of the 54 countries of the African continent joined in union.

This project was inspired by Adinkra, a Ghanaian system of symbols created by the Akan people and used in textile designs, logos and pottery or incorporated into architectural features. The symbols convey short concepts and proverbs that relate to everyday life and the environment. The roundel also relates to the artist’s concept of ‘Sanko-time’, based in the Ashanti word ‘Sankofa’, which roughly translated means ‘Go back and retrieve’. These ideas and images from West-African traditions are entwined with broader interests in science fiction and time travel, which leads to the unearthing of hidden stories.

© Photos by Reece Straw

PAN AFRICAN FLAG FOR THE RELIC TRAVELLERS' ALLIANCE (UNION) commissioned by Art on the Underground, Transport for London