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Shannon showing her painting to a group of students
Shannon showing her painting to a group of students

Written by
Post-Grad Community
Published date
26 June 2019

Presented by final year MA Art and Science students, Shannon Bono and Sabrina Mumtaz Hasan

Black Bodies Brown Parasites is a collaborative project between two emerging interdisciplinary artists tackling race, politics and social injustice, experienced by black and brown people through their art practice and scientific research. Sabrina is an artist and the History, Race & Sociological Change Researcher for Shades of Noir. She gives lectures on Socio-Parasitology and her practice is stimulated by her writings on materialising the positive aspects of a parasite, in favour for catalysing social change for immigration. Shannon is also an artist, cultural writer the Art’s Student Unions Women’s Officer and facilitator creating safe spaces to uplift black women. She creates figurative paintings that include anatomical manipulation and surrealist elements to tell stories of black womanhood. These young women have come together to create BB BP which has been awarded by the Art’s Student Union, hosted at the Tate Exchange 2019 and awarded the Post-Grad Community Project Fund.

BB BP was initiated due to Shannon and Sabrina’s shared studio space and cross-linking themes found in their work. Working closely during the course they noticed a shared interest in the pursuit of a political voice through art and science. With a diverse methodology of creating works and conversations with important national issues, they merged to produce Black Bodies Brown Parasites.


BB BP explores black feminisms, identity politics and social change using the science of positive parasitology as a metaphor and the human body as the subject. Shannon and Sabrina create new concepts to undergo positive social change and challenge current notions using critical theories; both artists share perspectives on postmodernity, with black and brown subjects at the forefront.


The first BB BP project was hosted at the LCF High Holborn Project Space, this allowed for an intimate setting necessary for in-depth conversations surrounding the details and processes of their artworks. The series of events included a unique life drawing class, the attendees were encouraged to endeavour on a new experience of looking at the subject. bell hooks expand on the power of looking and the oppositional gaze, using her theories the class used multiple gazes to understand the oppressions of black and brown people within society.

Each pose included Sabrina’s parasite sculptures supporting the models in exciting ways acting as a positive metaphor. The soft crit allowed the attendees to explore the work and study the archival text on display as well as the impactful text exhibited as part of the show. They had the opportunity to respond to the works and discuss its context.


The second instalment of the Black Bodies Brown Parasites project was presented at the Tate Exchange 2019 ‘Come Together’. Sabrina presented a performative lecture surrounding issues of migration, Brexit and pejorative syntax used to describe refugees in the media. Shannon show cased an interactive installation surrounding black feminist text and compilation of speeches, alongside this, she provides the public a space to share methods of decolonizing the body. Collectively Hasan and Bono hosted another life drawing class experimenting with ideas of looking at the body through the oppositional gaze (hooks, b.) and looking at the body as a parasite.


The third instalment of the BB BP project hit Chelsea School of Art and Central Saint Martins. This included another free life drawing class hosted by The Drawing Club London, a performative lecture and a live podcast. Sabrina Mumtaz Hasan presented her lecture ‘PARASITE LOST, ON ORANGE GROUNDS: How are all interruptions positive? What can we adopt from parasite-host relationships to actively resist the pejorative policymakers in this country?’. Shannon Bono and Carianne Annan as the ‘We Cultured!’ podcast duo discussed the term Activism (art and activism). The live podcast presented a conversation between the activists touching on how their works are politically charged for social awareness, the black Mona Lisa, white artists with black subjects and the arts curriculum.

Sabrina Mumtaz Hasan:

Shannon Bono:

This project was part funded by The Post-Grad Community Project Fund, making funds available to UAL postgraduate students to organise events, projects and cultural interventions that bring together postgraduate students from different disciplines, courses and colleges.