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

Arrivals + Departures invites the public to engage deeply with the themes of birth, life and death. Taking the recognisable form of two station or airport arrivals and departures boards, the artwork invites visitors to the analogue boards, and those engaging online, 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 engage with birth, life, death, loss and collective grief, through the deeply personal and radical act of naming. 

By recording birth and death, the work marks the ebb and flow of life: moments of entry into life, or an exit, the balance between them, and the power of naming. 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.

In the context of Covid-19 and social distancing rules, we are dramatically changing how we will connect and interact with our audience for the accompanying public programme. We are planning to collaborate and connect 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, in a Covid safe way.

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

A year-long tour of Arrivals + Departures in London, Brighton, Norfolk, Milton Keynes and Hull had been planned to start from April 2020 but was postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis. In September 2020 the project opens at Somerset House, London and we plan to tour the UK in 2021 and onwards. We are now creating a new, bold yet playful national touring public programme that offers a counterbalance to the relationship we have with digital media, giving us a chance to collectively ponder bigger questions and offering moments of connection.

You can now make a contribution of a name to the boards directly now to display on this website, or on the Arrivals + Departures boards themselves once the public artwork goes live at each location. A steward will be available at specific times (see PROGRAMME) to support your submission if needed.

Celebrate or commemorate someone significant to you by submitting a name


Arrivals + Departures Boards will be travelling to different sites and festivals across the UK from September 2020.

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 in consultation with Emma Curtis
Public Programme contributors: Emma Curtis (Death Cafe/Visitor Experience training), Laura Godfrey Isaacs (Birth Café & Board Takeover), Suzanne Dhaliwal (Board Takeover - Environmental activism), Sophie Herxheimer (Live drawings), Bilal Nasim (Board Takeover - Grief)

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