CARGO (Charting African Resilience Generating Opportunities) is an empowerment narrative covering the last 500 years of Bristol’s and Africa’s diasporas, shared history and legacy, which has been put into a book showcasing 12 poems that carry the narrative.
The poetry of this book underpins the CARGO movement. Dr. Lawrence Hoo reflects on growing up in Bristol, and the exclusion and marginalisation he experienced as a reuslt of history being taught from a solely European perspective. This, he says, has devalued other cultures and achievements, especially those of African communities impacted by slavery.
The resultant body of work, inspires hope, encouragement, and empowerment by providing a much-needed narrative that sets out the accomplishments of a people with a legacy of enslavement, who overcame the pervasive obstacles of racism.
A Surge of Power (Jen Reid) 2020
On 7 June 2020 the statue of Edward Colston, a prominent 17th- and 18th-century Bristol merchant, philanthropist and MP who had been involved in the Atlantic slave trade was toppled during George Floyd protests in the United Kingdom. The statue had become a focal point of protests against the part Bristol played in the slave trade.
Following the toppling of the statue, Black Lives Matter protester Jen Reid climbed onto the plinth and made a raised fist in a Black Power salute. A black resin sculpture: A Surge of Power (Jen Reid) 2020 was installed by Marc Quinn and removed by Bristol City Council the next day after it was installed. Reid and Quinn have designated the work as not-for-profit, stating that, if the sculpture ends up being sold, profits would be donated to Cargo Classroom and The Black Curriculum, two educational charities chosen by Reid.
CARGO brand design
The typography in the book was taken to create the CARGO logo and brand, and has since been used throughout all printed and digital media.
Since the book’s publication, the CARGO brand has flourished into a global phenomenon, encompassing immersive installations, a new curriculum for schools, an AR app that allows people to put their own virtual statues on the empty Colston plinth, a series of films and a creative studio space.
Lawrence’s poetry is carefully typeset for maximum legibility. Foldouts were conceived by VIKA, and contained hard-hitting facts and quotes. Design principles came from the horrific images of slaves stacked in ships combined with hard-hitting typographic designs from books in the VIKA portfolio. These were softened by specially commissions artworks by Charles Golding.
The book was printed on high quality Fedrigoni paper, printed in Italy and bound in dark blue and silver foil, which emulates the dark seas that the slaves were forced to cross.
The CARGO book is an important milestone in the creation of the CARGO brand. VIKA is proud to have been able to design and influence its artistic direction at such an early stage.