Westminster Station Now Has Its Own Unique Pan African Roundel

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 22 months ago
Westminster Station Now Has Its Own Unique Pan African Roundel
Commuters walk beneath the new roundel. Image: courtesy the artist and Copperfield, London. Photo: GG Archard, 2022

Westminster Underground station has a new roundel above its entrance — a Pan African design that's the work of British-Ghanaian artist Larry Achiampong.

We reported earlier in 2022 on Achiampong's design, entitled, 'Pan African Flag for the Relic Travellers' Alliance (Union)'. Now you can enjoy the permanent installation every time you nip in to take the tube across the way from the Houses of Parliament.

The design — rendered in vibrant vitreous enamel — swaps out the traditional red, white and blue of the London Underground roundel for the Pan African colours of green, black and red — as well a yellow-gold to represent "a new day and prosperity."

54 stars spangle the edge of the roundel, representing each of the 54 countries of the African continent joined in union. Image: courtesy the artist and Copperfield, London. Photo: GG Archard, 2022

54 stars spangle the edge of the roundel, representing each of the 54 countries of the African continent joined in union.

The roundel is inspired by Adinkra, a Ghanaian system of symbols conveying short concepts and proverbs relating to everyday life and the environment. The artist's own concept of 'Sanko-time', which alludes to using the past to prepare for the future, also informed the roundel's design.

However, one very familiar aspect of the traditional roundel remains: 'Westminster' is written in the Johnston typeface.

Said Achiampong about the roundel: "I feel that this permanent work at Westminster centres itself as a place of representation, so that among the many that will encounter it, especially young black kids who pass it by chance can see it as a lifting point. I didn't see many artworks in public spaces growing up that were saying this is part of you or you can connect to this; this belongs to you. It's important to have a connection to and a stake in a place."

In 2019, the artist did a temporary takeover of 70 roundels at Westminster station.

Last Updated 27 April 2022

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