all credits: The Independent
published: 21 August 2021
A virtual statue has been unveiled outside Brixton police station on the anniversary of Sean Rigg’s death in custody.
The statue, of campaigner Marcia Rigg, Sean’s sister, is the first in a series of “augmented reality statue interventions” through the Holding the Flame initiative.
Sean died following a cardiac arrest while in police custody at the south London police station on 21 August 2008; an inquest later found that officers had used “unsuitable and unnecessary force” on him.
The artwork, by transformative public arts company Aswarm, aims to offer a contemporary alternative to statues across Britain, inviting spectators to listen to, as well as view them.
It is part of a series, 81 Acts of Exuberant Defiance, responding to the 40th anniversary of the Brixton uprising. In the following weeks, the artwork will be available for longer-term public viewing through an app.
The Independent was invited to a private preview event attended by bereaved family members of people who have died following police contact, including campaigner Lee Lawrence, son of Cherry Groce who was shot by the police in her Brixton home in 1985; the mother of Joy Gardner, who died in 1993 after being restrained by police officers in her north London home; and the father of Roger Sylvester, who died in 1999 after slipping into a coma following his arrest in Tottenham, north London.