Unforgotten lives brought vividly to life by new art works at City’s archives

Art works have been commissioned by the London Metropolitan Archives to remember people of African, Caribbean, or Asian heritage from London’s past.

‘Art at the Archive: Reimagining Unforgotten Lives’ opens at the City of London Corporation-owned site on Monday 4 December and runs until Wednesday 27 March. Admission is free. 

Taking as their inspiration a range of people featured in LMA’s Unforgotten Lives exhibition (, artists Annie-Marie Akussah, Elyssa Rider, and Tara Jerome Bernabé have produced five works to bring their stories to life:

·       Annie-Marie Akussah showcases three-dimensional artwork that uses maps sourced from London Metropolitan Archives and images of landscapes that Black abolitionist, Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, would have encountered, such as the landscape of Ajumayo-Enyan-Essian in Ghana, as well as the West and East India Docks upon his arrival in London.

·       Elyssa Rider presents oil portraits of Ann Duck, a young woman living in London from 1717 to 1744, and of whom no images have survived, but her criminal past is preserved in the court records of the Old Bailey; and an imagined Japanese woman, in an attempt to re-address the absence of East-Asian women held in the archive.

·       Tara Jerome-Bernabé reimagines the lives and images of young Black servants who were enslaved and forced to work in aristocratic households. Their new woven painting hopes to start a peaceful and more natural connection to the people trapped in derogatory paintings of the sixteenth to eighteenth century.

Alongside the art work, LMA archivists have selected archival sources, papers, sketches, and materials that document the inspiration and creative process and, in their words, illustrate “the transformative power of art with archival practice.”

Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage, and Libraries Committee, Munsur Ali, said:

“In the same way that the team behind ‘Unforgotten Lives’ are to be congratulated for curating such a superb exhibition, Annie-Marie, Elyssa, and Tara deserve our gratitude for using their considerable skills to interpret these people’s lives and introduce us to them – many of us for the first time.

“While appreciating the beauty in their art works, we would do well to remember the ugliness of racism, the despicable trade in human beings, and the extreme hardship that the people featured in these pieces, and many others before and after them, had to endure.”

More information about ‘Art at the Archive’ at London Metropolitan Archives can be found at: Art at the Archive: Reimagining Unforgotten Lives - City of London

 The City of London Corporation is the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and invests over £130m every year.

The organisation manages a range of world-class cultural and heritage institutions, including the Barbican Centre, Tower Bridge, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Guildhall Art Gallery, London Metropolitan Archives, and Keats House. It also supports the London Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of London.


Notes to editors:

For further information, please contact:

Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer (Arts, Culture, Heritage, Licensing), City of London Corporation / 07795 333060 /

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages London Metropolitan Archives, is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK –

About London Metropolitan Archives:

London Metropolitan Archives (LMA), which is owned and managed by the City of London Corporation, is the archive repository for the Greater London area. The documents and books that LMA cares for, and provides access to, date from 1067 to the present day and collections are constantly expanding. The archives are free to use, as are the majority of resources in the public research rooms.

London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London, EC1R 0HB

London Metropolitan Archives is open to visitors at the following times:

·       Monday - 10am to 4pm

·       Tuesday - 10am to 4pm

·       Wednesday - 10am to 7pm

·       Thursday - 10am to 4pm

·       Saturdays – 9 December, 13 January, 10 February, 9 March - 10am to 4pm

(Closed on Bank Holidays - check the website for full details)