Conceived during a time of Brexit and Black Lives Matter and produced under the conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic, what comes to light for the artist is the long-standing, complex and often unacknowledged traumas of our White British past and their continued manifestation in UK culture.
Golding states he has previously felt disconnected from his white heritage. In Bring Me to Heal he looks to now nurture this intricate legacy with a sense of reflection and self-implication that has been developed from his Rastafarian upbringing.
Golding often turns to his Anglo-Scottish and Ghanian ancestry by way of a Rastafarian upbringing as a point of departure to explore the drivers of human behaviour.
Through film, photography and an increasingly labour-intensive process of sculpture, he creates dreamlike spaces, steeped in historical reference in which to locate characters experiencing moments of immutable change - points of no return that often leave the future hanging in the balance.
A centrepiece of the commission is an ornate hand knotted garment made of human hair that has been intricately designed by Golding in collaboration with the Shepperton Wig Company and hair artist Kevin Fortune using a pattern that blends references from afro hair styles to the body art of ancient Britons.
Born from a lengthy process it is a symbol of collective healing and reflection; using the hair of a collective of potentially thousands of people, each strand was hand knotted and tended to by a collective of producers and for the purposes of collective healing.
Through the films and photography series the garment is brought to life when worn by Solomon Golding - Amartey's brother and a dancer and film producer in his own right.
We follow the character as he is nurtured into existence by a group of three nomadic Brothers in the English countryside or brought to a point of reckoning with our violent past within the opulence of the V&A museum, exposing a potent vulnerability.
As the title suggests, the work searches for the point at which the tide of trauma can be steered towards a process of healing and away from further embedding itself in our collective psyche.
For this, Golding looks to the vital restorative work undertaken by Rastafarian and many other communities dealing with generational trauma and in a radical shift, applies these same techniques of context, accountability and compassion to the White British experience.
Bring Me To Heal is a plea, an invocation for us to acknowledge the importance of understanding our emotional past and to establish a more equitable future. It is also a warning of the consequences we will continue to face if we don't.
Forma's collaboration with Golding began in early 2019 with a proposal to undertake some Research & Development.
Recognising both the depth of Golding's artistic universe and his unique approach to the conversation on race and identity, Forma responded with an invitation to develop a new commission.
Bring Me To Heal is Forma's first major national touring commission in three years and marks Forma's commitment to long term engagement with artists at a turning point in their career.
Chris Rawcliffe, Artistic Director at Forma, said:
"For the past 2 years, Forma has had the pleasure of supporting Amartey Golding develop his ambitious, multidisciplinary project 'Bring Me To Heal'.
"It's testament to Amartey's drive and artistic vision that what started as a modest R&D project in early 2019 emerged as an entire exhibition encompassing two new films, various collaborations, photography and an incredible sculptural garment.
"Against the backdrop of current British politics – issues of homelessness, public health and race relations – Amartey uses symbolism and storytelling to articulate the complexities of our contemporary world in an open and inclusive manner that will speak to viewers far beyond the art world."