Peter Adjaye is a contemporary conceptual sound artist, specialising in cross-disciplinary collaborations. He is a musicologist, composer, DJ-producer and musician.
His unique set of skills and vast experience have enabled him to work closely with his brother, the award winning architect, Sir David Adjaye OBE, for over 15 years. This work has culminated in the publication, ‘Dialogues’ on MusicforArchitecture Records in association with Vinyl Factory Records. ‘Dialogues’ is available as a gatefold limited edition vinyl record.
We Bear the Light of the Earth in Red, Green, Black and Brown, Sunrise of Invisible Gold, and Sunset in Rippling Bronze, 2021 (Installed at Chiswick House and Gardens as part of the Bring into Being exhibition)
"The eight-channel soundscape is designed to play across different levels of the House as a way of connecting the different disparaging spaces, some of which are normally not noticed or seen. Similarly, in the Gardens, the work is designed to make you look again at the familiar but through a new lens. Providing alternative interpretations and opening up new pathways for engaging with history is something I have explored at Queen’s House via my response the Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I. At Chiswick House I was able to really push these ideas further.
I have always been interested in how sound can open up new spaces for the production of knowledge. The way in which we have collaborated, improvised and come together around the production of these soundscapes and the discussions we have had, has further highlighted to me that music produced in these regions is an acoustic reflection of particular philosophical attitudes towards existence as individuals and communities."
Voices from the Silence, Kwame, Kwaku, Yaw 2021 - Collaboration between Adelaide Damoah and Peter Adjaye
Adelaide Damoah and Peter Adjaye’s collaborative work represents an African Diasporic perspective that pays tribute to their shared Ghanaian ancestry. Their multi-media sculptural installation and soundscape takes over the entire ground floor of the gallery. The sculpture is formed of a 4.2 metre canvas featuring repeated imagery of Adelaide’s paternal ancestor who lived during the colonial era of the British Gold Coast (present day Ghana) and fought during World War II. Wrapped around a supporting structure, the sculpture alludes to an ancestral tree, whilst evoking traditional Ghanaian, funerary attire. Peter Adjaye’s immersive six channel soundscape, a cinematic journey of intrigue and drama featuring ancient west African percussion and dialogue between Adelaide and her father, activates the structure. Combined, these elements powerfully reframe the history of Ghanaian colonialism and African diasporic experience through image and sound, on the artists’ terms.
Adjaye was recently commissioned to compose and produce an installation for the exhibition A Countervailing Theory, in collaboration with celebrated Nigerian American Artist Toyin Ojih Odutola, for the unique 90 metre Barbican Curve Gallery. This 12 channel immersive soundscape ‘Ceremonies Within’ combines the authentic sounds of ancient African instrumentation with modern contemporary synths and strings. The sound installation allows the multitude of sounds to ‘bleed’ into each other as an organic movement within the space and has already received critical acclaim. Click here to read the Barbican's 'A musical maze' article.
Adjaye’s work is currently exhibiting at Greenwich Maritime Museum. A new immersive 6 channel sound installation A Proposal for Radical Hospitality was created in response to ‘The Armada Portrait’, the work traces the painting’s legacy of empire and the roots of the transatlantic slave trade.
He has also exhibited his unique sound art installations in many other prestigious locations, including, The Tate Modern, Design Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Somerset House, Studio Museum Harlem, Whitechapel Gallery, Albion Gallery, The Science Museum, Nobel Institute and given talks at places such as Maaxi National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, The Architecture Foundation, Design Miami, Rough Trade to St Martins Art College.
Recent article in Elephant Magazine, by Arwa Haider
Article in Art Africa Magazine, by Katherine Finerty
Interview and play of Ceremonies Within on Gilles Peterson Show