Sanko time - The Line


The Line announces Sanko-time, a new audio work by Larry Achiampong

Established in 2015, The Line is London’s first dedicated public art walk; an outstanding, free outdoor art gallery, following the line of the Greenwich Meridian along a route which passes through three of the most diverse boroughs in the UK (Newham, Tower Hamlets and Greenwich).

To mark the 5th anniversary of the critically acclaimed art walk, The Line is delighted to announce the launch on 29 August of Sanko-time – a new, specially commissioned audio work by British Ghanaian artist, Larry Achiampong. This audio work has been developed to accompany the 20-minute round-trip on the Emirates Air Line cable car from Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks and is designed to complement the views over the River Thames. It can also be experienced anywhere in the world via

Sanko-time is a concept developed by the artist that relates to the Ghanaian Twi word Sankofa, which roughly translates as to go back for what has been left behind and alludes to using the past to prepare for the future. This site-specific work responds to the indelibility of the historical British Empire on the areas local to The Line. Incorporating oral histories from the Museum of London’s sound archive, field recordings from London and Accra and audio recorded during workshops with primary school children from St Mary Magdalene C of E School in Greenwich. Sanko-time takes the listener through a rich soundscape connected by the Greenwich Meridian.

We are now living through an extraordinary moment in history that we hope will be marked by a revolution in social justice – it’s time for a new kind of listening.

Megan Piper, Director of The Line

Threaded with a powerful narrative about the legacy of colonialism from Achiampong, Sanko-time is a hypnotic synthesis of poetry, field recordings and music, including drum loops by the late Tony Allen an Afrobeat pioneer who brought together elements of Ghanaian Highlife and Jazz. The work is infused with the sounds and rhythms of Accra and London, including the lapping waves of Jamestown (the fishing harbour in Accra) and the water of the Royal Docks, as well as the street sounds of Accra’s Makola Market. The tides and empires explored in Sanko-time rise and fall to reveal the imprints of histories and the colonial past in our present.

Achiampong stated, 'Sanko-time' is a unique point in my practice in that (for the first time) I have married the varied approaches I make using sound. From the use of sampling technologies (like drum machines), to field recordings, and then compositions built from the ground up. This confluence of specific methods has allowed me to investigate the complex history of British Empire by exploring the relationship between London and the connecting waterways of the Meridian to Accra, Ghana.’

Megan Piper, Director of The Line, said, “Sanko-time is an evocative work which also carries a powerful reminder of the colonial legacies that taint our everyday life. We are now living through an extraordinary moment in history that we hope will be marked by a revolution in social justice it’s time for a new kind of listening. Working with Larry on our inaugural sound commission has been a privilege; heralding a new way of working for The Line as we think creatively about how we use public space in different ways”.

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture, said:Larry Achiampong’s ‘Sanko-time’ is an inspired addition to London’s cultural landscape, and a very timely one too. His powerful audio work not only reminds us of the history of colonialism, but how much work there is still yet to be done in our city.”

Sanko-time is the inaugural Listen to The Line commission and is funded by Trinity Buoy Wharf Trust and supported by Emirates Air Line and the Royal Docks Team. Posters in the Emirates Air Line terminals at Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks will include the image of Achiampong’s new flag What I Hear I Keep, which has been commissioned by De La Warr Pavilion (2020).

The Line was established by Megan Piper and the late regeneration expert Clive Dutton OBE, whose life’s work was rooted in a commitment to improving the quality of life for people in urban environments and to putting art and culture at the heart of regeneration. Running for 3 miles through one of the largest areas of regeneration in Europe – local support and engagement have been fundamental to the continued success of the art walk.

The Line currently features monumental sculptures by ten artists, including Antony Gormley’s Quantum Cloud and Gary Hume’s Liberty Grip at Greenwich Peninsula and Joanna Rajkowska’s The Hatchling and Abigail Fallis’ DNA DL90 on the River Lea. New additions for 2020 include the recent installation of Laura Ford’s Bird Boy at the Royal Victoria Dock and the extension of the route through Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, to encompass the UK’s largest sculpture, Anish Kapoor’s ArcelorMittal Orbit, and Carsten Höller’s The Slide.

The Line will be sharing news of forthcoming commissions and installations later in the year.