Black heroes and heroines celebrated at Bedford College exhibition at Quarry Theatre

An exhibition of work by Bedford College students celebrating Black Heroes and Heroines has opened at the Quarry Theatre.

The work, completed by art and design students at Bedford College as well as local artists, is based on individuals who have inspired them. The launch event was attended by special guests including former Bedford College student and author, Desmond Clarke (pictured with coordinator, Carmela Martiello).

Subjects include jazz musician Ornette Coleman, journalist Claudia Jones, American civil rights activist Daisy Bates, NASA mathematician Mary Jackson, abolitionist Harriet Tubman, singer Nina Simone, former US President Barack Obama and British poet Benjamin Clementine.

Less well-known among the subjects is Bedford College maths tutor, Emmanuel Amissah who a student wanted to dedicate her work to as a thank you for inspiring them.

The event has been coordinated by Carmela Martiello at SpectaculArts. She said: “Bedford has a rich and diverse population. SpectaculArts wants to embrace this to elevate, enrich, enhance and celebrate diversity.

“As an organisation, we aim to showcase the diversity and talents in the town through art, music, dance and performance.

SpectaculArts is an arts and education foundation that was established to change the narrative for under-represented communities in Bedford by nurturing positive, open dialogue.

“We have identified that there is an under-representation of those who have made such a difference and we wish to celebrate and promote the contributions of people of African origin to the arts, culture, technology and design – people who have contributed massively to our everyday liberty, hopes and opportunities,” said Carmela.

The private view took place on Saturday 17 July with special guests including former Bedford College student and author of Stolen Inheritance, Desmond Clarke and acclaimed sculptor Donald Brown showcasing his “Millennium Monument”.

Donald Brown’s sculpture, Millennium Monument

The sculpture, which is on loan to the exhibition, honours both past and present individuals from African Diaspora that have made immeasurable contributions that have elevated the world to greater heights.

The exhibition is open to the public during the Quarry Theatre’s opening hours until 1 August. Visit the Quarry Theatre website to check opening times.

“The aim is for it to be showcased in other locations around the town,” said Carmela.

“If you have space in your workplace and would like this to be displayed or would like to view a digital version please do not hesitate to email me.”

You can contact Carmela Martiello via Bedford College at

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