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Rastafari: The Majesty and the Movement UK

A public exhibition joint organised with community organisations which toured across UK cities matched with a series of activities and events.

  • School/Institute/Department: School of Politics and International Relations
  • Subjects: Black History, Public Exhibitions
  • Audience:
  • Status: Past

‘Rastafari: The Majesty and the Movement’ is a touring public exhibition detailing the history of the ‘Majesty’, Haile Selassie I famous emperor of Ethiopia, and the ‘Movement’ that takes Selassie I’s crown prince title, Ras Tafari.

Consisting of 12 large colour panels the display features archival documents and photos curated by 6 well-respected RasTafari practitioners and community organizers. The exhibition has been displayed throughout the UK, matched with community events working closely with the community organization Rastafari Regal Livity CIC.

The tour began at the Guildhall, Bath, on 18th October 2014, with an opening ceremony attended by the Mayor of Bath and other notable figures, before moving to Fairfield House, Bath until the end of December 2014. The panels were then exhibited at The Drum, the premier Black culture and arts centre in the UK for a month from February 2015. A set of community events were organised around the exhibition, including video screenings of oral histories. These received very positive feedback from participants and were organised alongside community organisations.

The exhibition also led to public talks focussing on the research behind the exhibition, given to the Anglo-Ethiopian Society at The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and to the annual Reparations Rally, organized by Rastafari Movement UK and the Black community of London by Dr Robbie Shilliam, primary researcher behind the exhibit.

The project arises out of the UK contribution to a larger exhibition which opened at the National Museum of Ethiopia, in Addis Ababa on May 25th 2015 and ran for one month, attracting over 11,000 visitors. The UK team’s exhibition details a narrative of Haile Selassie’s visits to the UK (including his 4 year exile at Fairfield House, Bath, 1936-1940) and the emergence of the RasTafari movement in the UK from the 1960s until recently.

You can find more information on the exhibit through their Facebook page and the Fairfield house website, as well as a write-up of the talk to the Anglo-Ethiopian Society on the website of community group ‘Rasta Ites’.

This project received small award funding from the Centre for Public Engagement.

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