Anna Maria Nabirye

Anna is a Black, Ugandan-British person born and raised in London, currently living on the South East Coast. She is a multi-disciplinary artist and performer working across visual arts, performance, fiction, documentary, theatre, screen and social practice. Her practice centres amplifying the stories of marginalised peoples with an emphasis on Black Women in the western diaspora, this manifests as curatorial care, anti-racist methodologies, social practice, social model of disability, community collaboration and co-creation within her work.

Recent works include a multimedia visual arts exhibition of Up In Arms – centring conversations on the complexities of interracial friendships, co-created with Annie Saunders, this social practice work formed an exhibition, a 3 channel film and performance, commissioned by the De La Warr Pavilion, produced by Artsadmin. Anna and Annie are currently writing a book with Slim Volume, to accompany this work and research.

Afri-Co-Lab is a creative community dreaming space that Anna co-founded in 2020 and co-run with Lilly Babirye. The space and programme is centred in anti-racist, community-led principles.

In 2023, Anna was selected for Jerwood New Work Fund. This will enable her to bring her work and practice to London to create a new work The Funnest Room In The House, part social practice-part exhibition-part installation-part community space, working with Artsadmin and The Whitechapel Gallery with support from Cement Fields. It will be the first time that Anna has the opportunity to create a large-scale installation and also bring her solo practice to her hometown of London.

Anna hopes to create a work where visitors can travel through time and space to explore a Black British kitchen collected from many pasts. The Funnest Room in the House takes inspiration from the kitchens of her childhood and those of the diaspora. These intimate spaces were individual to each family’s life but were also a performance of collective culture, containing expressions of ancestral homelands and nostalgia for ‘back home’, mashed up with contemporary British culture. This slice of social history is quietly disappearing, for the most part unrecorded. Kitchen renovations fill skips around the country and elders pass on to become ancestors, loosening the ties between people and their homelands. The Funnest Room in the House joyfully brings these kitchens into the spotlight, with playful interventions tracking the changing roles of these domestic spaces.

When asked what she was looking forward to about her Jerwood New Work Fund project, Anna said,

I was commissioned to make this work for Whitstable Biennale 2022, it was destroyed by fire before completion. I’m excited to reimagine what this work can be for a new geography and community. I have grown and done so much since, I cannot wait to utilise all of this learning. To build something audacious, to work slowly and equitably. To centre joy, memory, Black diaspora, refugee and immigrant culture at a time when our government is doing its best to dehumanise and illegitimise us. I can’t wait to prioritise space for celebration, joy and healing through nourishment, sound and movement.