Exhibitions

The Place Is Here, Nottingham Contemporary, 2017. Exhibition view. Photo Andy Keate.

The Place Is Here, Nottingham Contemporary, 2017. Exhibition view. Photo Andy Keate.

Donald Rodney, The House That Jack Built, 1987. Exhibition view at Nottingham Contemporary. Photo Andy Keate.

Dave Lewis, Flag of Our Ancestors

Dave Lewis, Flag of Our Ancestors

Dave Lewis, Flag of Our Ancestors, 1985. Collection of the artist.

The Place is Here

22 JUN - 10 SEP 2017, MAIN AND FIRST FLOOR GALLERIES, FREE

Overview

The Place is Here presents work by over twenty black artists and collectives working in 1980s Britain. Shown across the South London Gallery and Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art, the exhibition spans painting, film, photography and archival material from this pivotal decade in British culture and politics.

The Place is Here evokes some of the debates taking place between black artists, writers and institutions in the UK in the 1980s. Across two venues the works and archives on display show how a new generation of practitioners were responding to a range of discourses and politics: Civil Rights-era “Black art” from the US; Margaret Thatcher's anti-immigration policies and the resulting uprisings across the country; apartheid in South Africa; and black feminism. This group of artists were also reworking and subverting a range of art-historical references and aesthetic strategies – from William Morris to Pop Art, documentary practices or the introduction of Third Cinema to the UK. Revisiting these discussions today, at a time when the UK is increasingly divided, is both timely and prescient.  

At the South London Gallery, a constellation of film, photography, painting and archives show how artists were drawing on myriad forms of representation and storytelling to interrogate race, gender and sexual politics. Different forms of self-portraiture and self-representation appear throughout the main gallery in the work of artists such as Rasheed Araeen, Zarina Bhimji, Sonia Boyce, Mona Hatoum and Donald Rodney. Films by Isaac Julien and Martina Attille in the first floor galleries show the way in which narrative and documentary were being explored and tested by an emerging generation of black filmmakers.  

Artists and archives featured in the South London Gallery exhibition:

John Akomfrah, Rasheed Araeen, Martina Attille, Zarina Bhimji, Blk Art Group Research Project, Sonia Boyce, Brixton Art Gallery Archive, Ceddo, Eddie Chambers, The June Givanni Pan African Cinema Archive, Joy Gregory, Mona Hatoum, Lubaina Himid, Lubaina Himid Archive, Gavin Jantjes, Claudette Johnson, Isaac Julien, Chila Kumari Burman, Dave Lewis, Pratibha Parmar, Maybelle Peters, Keith Piper, Ingrid Pollard, Donald Rodney, Marlene Smith.

The Place is Here is curated by Nick Aikens. 

Archival displays curated in collaboration with June Givanni, Lubaina Himid, Andrew Hurman and Marlene Smith.

The exhibition is a continuation of The Place is Here (Nottingham Contemporary, 2017) and Thinking Back. A Montage of Black Art in Britain (Van Abbemuseum, 2016). Part of the exhibition will be shown at Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art from 18 June – 8 October 2017.



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