Dancing a Peripheral Quadrille: Ashanti Harris

Dancing a Peripheral Quadrille was a new commission from Ashanti Harris for the Edinburgh Art Festival 2022.

Exhibition runs 28 July – 28 August, 2022

Open Monday – Sunday 11am – 5pm

Taking the novel Signposts of a Jumbie, written by Faustin Charles as a starting point, Harris interlaced ideas of communal and grassroots cultural production with her research around, and personal experience of West Indian Carnivals. Through this lens of the Caribbean Carnival and associated collective making, she developed a series of sculptural and performance works. 

“Ah seein dem comin down de road like fire burning up de place”  

Performed by three dancers, (KJ Clarke-Davis, Jessica Paris and Hamshya Rajkumar) Dancing a Peripheral Quadrille was a Carnival in the making. Situated within the liminal position between the Caribbean and Scotland, the performance used sound, memory, composition and movement to play with the peripheralities of cultural identity.

Performance times and dates

29 July 2022 at 8pm; 30 July 2022 at 1pm; 13 August at 1pm; 27 August at 1pm.

There is a free publication featuring a conversation between Ashanti Harris and Dr Ranjana Thapalyal which opens up the wider contexts of the work. You can view or download the pdf here: Ashanti Harris EAF22

Access to ESW’s production facilities and the support of our technicians has given Harris the opportunity to develop the ambition of her sculptural work, enabling it to exist outside of the performances as an installation viewable daily in ESW’s courtyard, a public space that gives potential audiences an unexpected, chance encounter with the work of this exciting artist.

The production of this work has been generously funded by The Art Fund.

Ashanti Harris is a multi-disciplinary artist and researcher based in Glasgow. Working with dance, performance, sculpture and installation, Ashanti’s work disrupts historical narratives and reimagines them from a Caribbean diasporic perspective. As part of her creative practice, she is co-director of the dance company Project X – platforming dance of the African and Caribbean diaspora in Scotland; and works collaboratively as part of the collective Glasgow Open Dance School (G.O.D.S) – facilitating experimental movement workshops and research groups. She is also lecturer in Contemporary Performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and co-facilitates the British Art Network research group The Re-Action of Black Performance. Recent commissions and exhibitions include: An Exercise in Exorcism, GoMA, Glasgow (2021) JUMBIES, Glasgow International, Glasgow (2021); This Woman’s Work, Third Horizon Film Festival, Miami (2021); Miraculous Noise, Viborg Kunsthal, Viborg (2021); OHCE, Radiophrenia, 87.9fm (2020); Being Present, OGR, Torino (2020); In The Open, The Common Guild, Glasgow (2020); The Index Impulse, Alchemy Film Festival, Hawick (2020); Pre-Ramble, David Dale, Glasgow (2020); The Skeleton of a Name, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow (2019)

Image credits:

Top of page: Detail of Sculpture: Ashanti Harris

Above: Harris Family Photos from Guyana Carnival 1987-2013.

The production of this commission has been generously supported by The Art Fund.


Detail of bronze endcap on scaffolding float Ashanti Harris exhibition
Detail of bronze endcap on scaffolding float, with cast figure, Ashanti Harris exhibition
Detail of green painted oil drum suspended like a drum with scaffolding float in background and beater on top of the drum
Green painted oil drum suspended so that visitors can play it like a steel pan drum, with two beaters on the top part of Ashanti Harris exhibition
Large shimmering wing sculptures in the centre of a courtyard, Ashanti Harris exhibition
Performer Jessica Harris wearing the large wing sculpture during the performance, Ashanti Harris exhibition
Shadow cast by large wing sculptures, Ashanti Harris exhibition
Performer Hamshya Rajkumar as part of Ashanti Harris performance
Performance, Ashanti Harris exhibition
Performance, Ashanti Harris exhibition
Performance, Ashanti Harris exhibition
Performers pushing a scaffolding float within a courtyard, Ashanti Harris exhibition
View of the performers and audience Ashanti Harris performance
View of audience at the opening event summer programme 2022
Crowds of people in a courtyard with sculptures by Ashanti Harris