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Torkwase Dyson

Torkwase Dyson, ‘Liquid a Place’, 2021. Liverpool Biennial 2023 at Tate Liverpool. Courtesy of Liverpool Biennial. Photography by Stuart Whipps.

Featured in the Liverpool Biennial 2023 at Tate Liverpool, Torkwase Dyson’s Liquid is a Place, 2021, is composed of three large structures, each containing a triangular void at its center to signify the sailing route upon which 2.4 million enslaved Africans lost their lives. In this work, Dyson presents water as a simultaneous space of resistance, terror, conflict, pollution, oppression, refuge, extraction, and liberation, particularly for Black and Brown bodies.

The installation sits in direct conversation with the dark histories of the water and docks that surround Tate Liverpool – Britain’s first commercial wet dock was constructed nearby in 1715 to service and expedite the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Liquid is a Place is presented in conjunction with “uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things,” the 12th edition of the Liverpool Biennial, which addresses the history of Liverpool and is a call for ancestral and indigenous forms of knowledge, wisdom, and healing.


Working in painting, drawing, and sculpture, Torkwase Dyson combines expressive mark-making and geometric abstraction to explore the continuity between ecology, infrastructure, and architecture. Dyson deconstructs, distills, and interrogates the built environment, exploring how individuals, particularly black and brown people, negotiate, negate, and transform systems and spatial order. In projects such as I Belong to the Distance 3, (Force Multiplier), Dyson created sculptural and architectural installations that provide a platform for collaboration with other artists, dancers, and thinkers. Throughout her work and research, Dyson confronts issues of environmental liberation and envisions a path toward a more equitable future.