A born and bred Londoner, Barka experienced first hand the sense of displacement and disillusionment which runs through his beloved city during this time of rapid change. His own upbringing, as part of the only black family on a South London estate ravaged by the Far Right, has contributed to his style as an artist, not least in his bold use of colour. With regards to this, Barka cites his mother as an influence: "My mother was always wearing bright colours. Even though we would go through racist abuse, my mum didn't shy away from that. She wasn't trying to hide and wear black or wear white, she was very much proud".
Born 1986 in London, UK
The title 'Sugar and Water' comes directly in response to my work being included in the Jamaican Pulse exhibition - Art and Politics from Jamaica and the Diaspora at The Royal West of England Academy in late June.
A pulse refers to one's heart beat, one's blood. This leads to questions in understanding one's identity and current place in the world and how one comes to these realities, while researching a series of events with a focus on migration of a people soaked in raw cain sugar, both historically and socially, as one explores the very nature of the Afro Caribbean experience in London.
My current practice focuses on documenting the Black experience within the contemporary landscape of London, highlighting and using significant moments in the historical construct of the Black British Identity. It contains cultural references to London’s subcultures – the Punks, the Skinheads, the Rude Boys or the new Grime generation – exploring and challenging these ideals.