Rock Against Racism (1976-82) was one of the most important British grassroots cultural movements of the 20th century. Uniting music lovers to fight against racism and fascism, Rock Against Racism (RAR) harnessed the power of the imagination – thrilling music, vibrant design and witty, subversive polemic – along with a DIY ethos which expected everyone to do their own thing as well as being part of a huge collective effort. Hundreds of small local bands played RAR clubs and gigs, as well as big names like Aswad, the Au Pairs, Buzzcocks, The Clash, Misty in Roots, The Specials, Gang of Four, Steel Pulse, Tom Robinson Band and X-Ray Spex. The result was a movement which raised the consciousness of a generation.
From May to September 2020, the De La Warr Pavilion is hosting a major new exhibition to celebrate Rock Against Racism, featuring a new commission by artist Larry Achiampong created in response to the sounds, visuals and ethos of RAR.
Rock Against Racism: Militant Entertainment 1976-82 will capture the excitement of the moment and the thirst for change, setting RAR’s activities within the social and political context of the time. It will showcase the punky RAR aesthetic through posters, photography, badges, stickers, leaflets, letters from young fans across the world, as well as striking graphics from the legendary RAR fanzine, Temporary Hoarding. T.H.’s articles and interviews range from abortion rights to anti-colonial struggle in Zimbabwe: a platform for discussing multiple forms of oppression. The exhibition will include material about associated campaigns including the Anti Nazi League, Rock Against Sexism, Asian Youth and Gay rights movements. It will also highlight the internationalism of Rock Against Racism, with material from groups worldwide. Musicians and activists who were involved in RAR will contribute reminiscences, visitors are invited to record their own memories and draw parallels to collective movements today, and a summer-long programme of intergenerational learning, participation and Live events will accompany the show.
Larry Achiampong will present two newly commissioned works: a sound piece which can be heard within the exhibition, and a flag to fly from the Pavilion’s flagpole. Both works form part of the artist’s on-going, multi-site project Relic Traveller, which addresses issues around migration, displacement and nationhood through sound, film, performance and objects. Combining material that includes lost testimonies, pop-culture and stories of fallen empire, Relic Traveller methodically traces an Afro-centric narrative for the future, built on the dismantling of colonialism.
Rock Against Racism: Militant Entertainment 1767-82 is organised by Andy Dark, Ruth Gregory, Kate Webb, Lucy Whitman and De La Warr Pavilion.
Larry Achiampong’s solo and collaborative projects employ imagery, aural and visual archives, live performance and sound to explore ideas surrounding class, cross-cultural and post-digital identity. These investigations examine constructions of ‘the self’ by splicing the audible and visual materials of personal and interpersonal archives, offering multiple perspectives that reveal entrenched sociopolitical contradictions in contemporary society. Achiampong’s works permeate gallery walls, whether via digital transmissions, the sharing of research in the form of sound works, through to world building with physical elements embedded in cities, woodlands or open source technologies.
Larry Achiampong is a 2018 Jarman Award nominated artist and a 2019 Paul Hamlyn Award recipient (for Visual Arts) and has worked with major institutions both in the UK and internationally on commissions, residencies and exhibitions with spaces including the Tate Galleries, the Venice and Singapore Biennales, Somerset House and Transport for London. Relic Traveller (2017–) is his most ambitious to date – a multi-disciplinary multi-site work that builds on themes of lost testimony, fallen empire and displacement. The project is currently formed of two phases comprised of original scores, four short films, installations, audio-visual performance an flag project which have seen the flags hoisted atop Somerset House, the Frieze Sculpture Park, Whitechapel Gallery and Kunsthal Charlottenborg as well as the 2019 Singapore Biennale.
- By Rail
Direct trains go from London Victoria, Brighton and Ashford to Bexhill.
There are also trains from London Charing Cross, changing at St. Leonards Warrior Square and from London Bridge or Charing Cross going to Battle. Battle is only a short taxi journey away (15 mins approx).
Visit www.nationalrail.co.uk for up-to-date train travel information.
Town Taxis: 01424 211 511
Parkhurst Taxis: 01424 733 456
- By Car
If driving from the London area:
Take the M25, then A21 to Hastings. Turn off at John‘s Cross and follow the signs to Bexhill.
Take the A22 to Eastbourne, go across the Bishop roundabout to the A271 and follow the signs to Bexhill and the seafront. The De La Warr Pavilion is on the Marina.
From the Brighton area:
Follow the A27 out of Brighton until you arrive in Bexhill On Sea.
Please be aware the Rother District car park outside the De La Warr Pavilion operates paid parking until 8pm. After this time parking is free. There is also lmiited free car parking along the seafront.
Within the limits of this Grade One listed building, the De La Warr Pavilion strives to be fully accessible with a range of facilities to support your visit.
Assistance Dogs are permitted into the building.
Please contact the Box Office on 01424 229 111 to arrange a visit.
Facilities for disabled visitors
- Ramped access at the front of the building
- A low counter at the Box Office and Information Desk
- Disabled toilets on two floors
- A lift to all floors
- Accessible galleries on both floors
- An accessible Café
- Spaces for wheelchairs in the auditorium for seated events
- Ramped access in the auditorium for events during the day
- Ramped access into the Studio
- Two travel wheelchairs are available for use at the De La Warr Pavilion. To reserve, please call our box office and information desk on (01424) 229111 or ask a member of staff on arrival. The chairs are provided on a first come, first served basis and are intended for use inside the Pavilion. Please contact us for more information.
Facilities for blind or visually-impaired
- Large print season brochures
Facilities for the hard-of-hearing
- An T-Switch induction loop in some areas of the auditorium (please indicate when booking as this facility is not available on the balcony)
- British Sign Language interpretation tours of the building and exhibitions are available on request.