Young Black and Mixed Heritage Artists Contemplate Climate Change through the Reframe Residency Exhibition at Southbank

Dancing in Desolation/ Tanning on Tarmac. Image Credit; Pete Woodhead.

By Flora Masika

Reframe: The Residency Exhibition showcased the work of young Black and Mixed Heritage artists and their response to the climate crisis.The initiative was part of the Planet Summer season which ran from June – August 2023 at the Southbank Centre in London. The project set the record straight on the confusion that surrounds climate change by amplifying the voices of the ‘believers and dreamers’ to motivate others.

One of the voices, Omari Taylor, a self taught photographer, filmmaker and artist on the Reframe Residency said, “on the ground level we do have a lot of influence and I think we need to wake up a little more. I look at the #BLM movement, we made our voices heard  and change has happened off the back of that. Opportunities and initiatives have come from that – like this very Reframe programme.” 

The Reframe Residency project was designed by the Southbank to open opportunities for young Black and Mixed Heritage creatives from London, Birmingham and Manchester. In partnership with Apple’s global Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, the programme propels the careers of 77 young artists to face the systemic barriers they encounter in the creative industries.

Participation in the project has certainly armed the young artists with a motivational fire. Omari Taylor, from the Manchester residency, continues, “one of the best things about the project was having so many creative minds. Learning how I work and the access to mentors.” He was one of the filmmakers of ‘Dancing in Desolation/ Tanning on Tarmac’ featured at the exhibition showcasing images, films and poetry.

Leah Moses, from Wolverhampton collaborated on the artwork ‘I Am Your Mother Dismantled,’ shared the same sentiments; “I usually do the work myself, but the project meant that I could learn and explore…….resources are hard to find in the West Midlands.” 

All the artists on the Reframe programme; Image Credit Pete Woodhead.

The Reframe Exhibition was poignant and visually striking. Omari drew inspiration from the apocalyptic feel of the world right now.  “We live in a dystopian world, with things like the metaverse and A.I. We are so connected and disconnected at the same time.” He expressed his changing attitudes on the issue as he worked on the project.  “In the beginning it felt like tackling climate change was futile but as the project unfolded and the vibe was right…Even in the down moments; with all the depressing news in the media, us humans always find ways to have fun.”

Leah Moses’ piece contained an abstract narrative,“we wanted to portray Mother Nature. The idea that Mother Nature has given us so much but we abuse everything.”  Through the use of birthing imagery, neon artificial lighting and the glossy, manufactured look of plastic, Moses created moving work reflecting her thoughts on how young people crave to go back to a more peaceful, environmentally conscious way of living. “On the internet there’s a sense of urgency. The programme made me feel that people care more.” 

For more information on the Reframe Project view:


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