A collaborative exhibition that uses photography and narrative as a lens onto state violence, death, grief and resistance.

The soul of our loved one lives forever in our hearts & memories, which will never die

- Marcia Rigg, Participant and Family Campaigner

SoulsINQUEST uses photography and writing as a lens onto state violence, death, grief and resistance. The exhibition is an embodiment of family resistance that refuses to be silenced, misrepresented or forgotten. A collaboration between bereaved families, Sarah Booker, INQUEST, it is a powerful act of defiance in response to decades of injustice.

We first exhibited SoulsINQUEST in May 2023 at 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning in Brixton where it was curated by Languid Hands. We now plan to tour this exhibition across the UK. 

Part of INQUEST’s anniversary project – Unlocking the Truth for 40 Years – this photography exhibition is a creative moment to publicly reflect on family voice in the fight for justice.  

Sarah Booker has worked alongside seventeen family members, all of whom have been traumatically bereaved due to state violence. Together, they have created multiple visual and textual elements that are in dialogue with each other. The exhibition features narrative writing, family portraits and a ‘concept photograph’ that encapsulates the soul or essence of a loved one that has died and the impact of grief. Creative co-production is a powerful vehicle for families to take control of their own stories and challenge harmful and misleading public assertions made about their loved ones. 

Together, the portrait, concept photograph and narrative reflect the personal and human side of the impact of 'statistics' around state violence and abandonment, which are often not given space in legal cases or fully represented in campaigns for change. 

Individually, they represent the most intimate and private reflections on grief; collectively, they are monuments to the thousands of families that INQUEST has worked with for more than 40 years. 

Alongside the photographs and narratives, the third gallery at 198 housed ephemera from INQUEST’s archive, including posters, pamphlets and imagery from protests, rallies, campaigns and media spanning the past four decades. 

Photographs by Sarah Booker, in collaboration with Anna Susianta, Tania El Keria & Gemmy Levy, Aziz Ahmed, Marcia Rigg, Lee Lawrence, Lee Jarman, Tony Herbert & Chris Herbert, Rosie Tozer, Ajibola Lewis, Yvonne & Joanna Bailey, Donna Mooney, Melanie Leahy, James McDonald, June Hartigan, Bernard Sylvester, Sheila Sylvester, Rupert Sylvester, Linda Allan & Stuart Allan, and Stephanie Lightfoot-Bennett. 

INQUEST would like to give thanks for funding and support from National Lottery Community Fund, Reaching Communities, National Heritage Lottery Fund, and Matrix Chambers. Thanks to National Lottery players! 

198 Contemporary Arts & Learnings artistic programme is supported by Arts Council England, Freelands Foundation and Lambeth Council.