Arrivals + Departures is an interactive public installation about birth, death and the journey in-between by YARA + DAVINA

ARRIVALS+DEPARTURES is an interactive installation exploring birth, death and the journey in between. Taking the recognisable form of a station or airport arrivals and departures board, the artwork invites the public to share the names of people who have arrived and departed as a way to celebrate a birth or commemorate a death.

As the effects of Covid-19, racial injustice and the environmental crisis continue to disrupt communities across the world, this artwork offers a timely platform to explore issues around birth, life, death, loss, and collective grief; alongside racial and social justice, to question and change who is honoured through public statues and memorials.

Located in different outdoor and sometimes indoor public spaces, these nostalgic analogue display boards reflect the magnitude of sharing a name. As the public submit names via this online portal, each named person is given a presence as it appears on the mechanical flip dot screens – a stark contrast to the fleeting nature of digital LED signs and the instant nature of social media.

Accompanying the boards is an integral programme of events, talks and workshops that explore a range of issues associated with commemorating new life, honouring the living, acknowledging our own mortality, bringing attention to death, and tending to grief and loss; subjects that need to be spoken about more to help us live well.

A bespoke programme is developed for each presentation depending on context and resources making connections with a variety of experts and people from across communities including celebrants, midwives, ministers and florists to opera singers, choirs, pregnant people and care-home workers and residents.

Watch a series of videos about Arrivals and Departures at Somerset House

Premiered at Somerset House, London in Autumn 2020, ARRIVALS+DEPARTURES is currently touring both in the UK and internationally. See Programme for more details.

Video: about the Arrivals + Departures public programme

Celebrate or commemorate someone significant to you by submitting a name

Celebrate or commemorate someone significant to you by submitting a name


Yara El-Sherbini and Davina Drummond are a British collaborative artist duo. They’ve been working for almost two decades, making unfailingly inventive artworks. Passionate about site, context and audiences, together they make accessible works which touch on the human condition in different ways, be it geo-political or love, to knowledge or mental health. From jokes to mini golf, choirs to tattoo parlours, they root their works in the everyday, using interactivity, a lightness of touch and humour to create artworks that are both poetic and political. Their practice is about process and meaning making and considers the ethics of working with and for people.

They’ve created artworks for multiple world leading art venues and public organisations such as Tate Modern and Tate Britain, Venice Biennale, Manchester Art Gallery, Baltic, IKON, National Portrait Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery, INIVA, Somerset House, Camden Council, Studio Museum Harlem, The Victoria & Albert, London, ZKM, Germany, HIAP, Helsinki, Kaunus Art Biennial (Lithuania) , Modern Art Oxford, The RCA, Arnolfini, National Maritime Museum, Hayward Gallery, New Art Exchange, Quad Gallery, GOSH, Southbank Center, Casa Arabe, and the ICA. In 2016 Yara + Davina were joint British Council Artist Fellow’s in the USA and were Insitu artists.

> yaraanddavina.com

Produced by Artsadmin

Supported by Without Walls. Co-commissioned by Freedom Festival Arts Trust (Hull) and Norfolk & Norwich Festival and Artsadmin with support from Create To Connect > Create to Impact through the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. Publicly funded through Arts Council England

Development supported by the IN SITU platform in the frame of ACT project, Without Walls Blueprint programme and a Seedbed Residency at 101 Outdoor Arts.

Credits + Thanks

Board graphics / Website Design: Tom Merrell
Digital Fabrication: Rob Prouse
3d Design and Construction: Other Fabrications
Production Management: Steve Wald

Public Programme devised by the artists
Public Programme development: Emma Curtis (Death Cafe/Visitor Experience training), Laura Godfrey Isaacs (Birth Café & Board Takeover)

Produced by Artsadmin

Many thanks to: Mikey Martins from Freedom Festival for his ongoing support and commitment to the work, Simon Chatterton from Project 101 for the R+D residency, Bill Gee for being a critical friend, Salette Gresset for encouraging us to turn an idea into reality. Manick Govinda and Cecilia Wee for all the early stages support and development and Without Walls for being the first to take a risk in funding Arrivals + Departures.


Emma Curtis is a consultant for the Arrivals + Departures public programme. She combines her 30-year career as an operatic soloist with being a secular minister and therapist, working with ceremony, CBT, hypnosis, art, sound, breath work and voice. She is the CEO of Ceremony Matters providing advanced training to funeral celebrants and has a grief and resiliency practice in London’s West End.
> www.ceremonymatters.org/about-emma

Other Fabrications is a London based design studio and workshop focussing on collaborations with artists and designers on bespoke artworks and installations. The company is run by designer James Shearer, who worked with YARA + DAVINA to develop the three-dimensional aspect of Arrivals and Departures.
> otherfabrications.com