StayingPower: Photographs of Black British Experience 1950s-1990s
Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience
16 February - 24 May 2015
This spring the V&A presents a display of over 50 recently acquired photographs exploring the experiences of black people in Britain in the latter half of the 20th century, enhanced by excerpts from oral histories gathered by Black Cultural Archives.
Over the last seven years the V&A has been working with Black Cultural Archives to acquire photographs either by black photographers or which document the lives of black people in Britain, a previously under-represented area in the V&A’s photographs collection. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Museum has been able to collect 118 works by 17 artists ranging from Yinka Shonibare’s large-scale series Diary of a Victorian Dandy (1998), to studies of elaborate headties worn by Nigerian women by J.D. Okhai Ojeikere, to black and white street photography of 1970s London by Al Vandenberg.
Staying Power showcases a variety of photographic responses to black British experience. On display are intimate portrayals of British-Caribbean life in London in the 1960s-70s by Neil Kenlock, Armet Francis, Dennis Morris and Charlie Phillips. Music, style and fashion are documented in Raphael Albert’s depictions of the black beauty pageants he organised from the 1960s to the 1980s to help celebrate the growing black community in Britain and Norman ‘Normski’ Anderson’s colourful depictions of vibrant youth culture of the 1980s and ‘90s.
The display also features more conceptual explorations of race and identity. Yinka Shonibare’s series, Diary of a Victorian Dandy, depicts the artist playing the role of a dandy. The work demonstrates Shonibare’s identification with the dandy as an outsider or foreigner who uses his flamboyance, wit and style to penetrate the highest levels of society, which would otherwise be closed to him. Maxine Walker also draws attention to racial stereotypes by photographing herself in a variety of guises. In her Untitled series (1995) she presents herself with different skin tones and hairstyles as though they were instantaneous transformations made in a photo booth.
To complement the photographs, Black Cultural Archives have collected oral histories from a range of subjects including the photographers themselves, their relatives, and the people depicted in the images. To coincide with the display at the V&A, Black Cultural Archives also presents an exhibition drawn from the V&A’s Staying Power (15 January - 30 June 2015) at their heritage centre in Brixton.
The William Morris Family Album, William Morris Gallery
7 February - 7 June 2015
The Gallery's first major commission: a Morris-inspired photographic exhibition by Turner Prize nominee Yinka Shonibare MBE
The William Morris Family Album will see the British Nigerian artist work with Waltham Forest residents to recreate photographs of Morris’s family from the Gallery’s collection. Some of the sitters will wear Victorian costume, refashioned from “African” batik fabric created especially for the project. The work will encourage viewers to reflect on Morris’s political views by connecting his socialist ideals with the history of Empire.
Morris is a natural subject for Shonibare, whose interest in the Victorian Age, imperialism and the global textile trade has informed much of his work. Inspired by his visits to the Gallery, Shonibare worked with curators to explore Morris’s ideas and the wider social context of Waltham Forest.
The free exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive education and events programme.
Self: Image and identity at Turner Contemporary
24 January - 10 May 2015
Self: image and identity at Turner Contemporary presents more than 100 artist self- portraits from the sixteenth-century to the present day, from Sir Anthony van Dyck and JMW Turner to recent work by Louise Bourgeois and Yinka Shonibare. The exhibition explores the diverse ways in which artists have chosen to represent themselves and their identities through painting, drawing, sculpture, photography and film. More than 70 works from the National Portrait Gallery will be showcased alongside key twentieth- century and contemporary self-portraits from public and private international collections for an expansive look at the self-portraiture genre.
Artists have been recreating their own image for centuries. From self-advertisement and preserving legacy, to figurative studies, political commentary and biographical exploration self-representation/portraiture has shaped Western art.
Central to the exhibition is the last known Self-portrait by Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599- 1641), Court Painter to Charles I. Regarded as Britain’s first ‘celebrity’ artist, Van Dyck was also the most influential portrait painter ever to have worked in Britain and his legacy was to last for the next three centuries.
Sir Anthony van Dyck’s remarkable Self-portrait was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in 2014 through a major public appeal with the Art Fund, and with thanks to a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the support of other major individual and trust supporters, and nearly 10,000 members of the public. Turner Contemporary will be the first venue where visitors can see Van Dyck’s Self-portrait as it embarks on a three year national tour, supported by the Art Fund and HLF.
Taking Van Dyck’s legacy and self-portrait as a starting point, the development of the genre of self-portraiture will be considered in the exhibition through a series of themes including: history, celebrity, collecting, gender, mortality and contemporary approaches. From the rise of self-portraiture in Britain in the mid-17th century to contemporary responses, such as Jason Evans’s new commission Sound System Self-Portrait, the exhibition includes work by; Louise Bourgeois, John Constable, Tracey Emin, Lucian Freud, Damien Hirst, David Hockney, Angelica Kauffmann, Sarah Lucas, Yinka Shonibare, JMW Turner and Gillian Wearing.
In the age of social media and the digital ‘selfie’, self-representation is arguably the defining visual genre of our time. The works in Self remind us that the self-portrait has remained a potent form of expression for artists since Van Dyck first painted his likeness in a mirror.
Yinka Shonibare’s Wind Sculpture comes to Howick Place, Victoria
24 February 2014
A striking, site-specific sculpture by internationally-renowned artist Yinka Shonibare, MBE has been given the green light by Westminster Council, as part of Howick Place in Victoria, London.
Doughty Hanson & Co Real Estate and Terrace Hill, the joint developers behind the new landmark building at 1-5 Howick Place, commissioned Wind Sculpture through art consultants HS Projects. It is expected to be installed in Wilcox Place this spring and will serve as an integral part of the area’s development, which is rapidly becoming Victoria’s vibrant new ‘cultural quarter’.
Wind Sculpture, measuring 6 metres by 3 metres, will explore the notion of harnessing movement, through the idea of capturing and freezing a volume of wind in a moment in time. The work will echo the sails from his Fourth Plinth commission in Trafalgar Square, ‘Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle’, now on permanent display outside the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.
The captivating piece will have special resonance at Howick Place, named after Viscount Howick, later 2nd Earl Grey, one of the main architects of the Reform Act 1832, Catholic emancipation and the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. Wind Sculpture continues Shonibare’s focus on themes of colonialism, trade, and race and will employ the artist’s signature use of batik Dutch wax fabric designs - materials which have become synonymous with African identity.
Designed by award winning architects Rolfe Judd, Howick Place is architecturally stunning and includes just over 143,000 sq ft of commercial space and 23 luxury residential apartments, with spacious terraces offering expansive views over London’s most iconic sights. Situated midway between the fashion centres of Bond Street and Sloane Street, Howick Place is also recognised as a sought-after destination among a community of stylish tenants. It has already attracted the Head Office of Giorgio Armani S.p.A, to 5 Howick Place, with international auction house Phillips, the design studio of Marc Newson and HQ’s of luxury brands Tom Ford and Jimmy Choo – with Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Moët Hennessy and Richemont a stone’s throw away. Reflecting this sense of art and culture, Wind Sculpture, is the developers’ contribution to the ongoing renaissance of the area.
Globe Head Ballerina
2012 Yinka Shonibare MBE
Yinka Shonibare Globe Head Ballerina
Yinka Shonibare's Globe Head Ballerina modelled on The Royal Ballet's Melissa Hamilton.
A unique artwork by Yinka Shonibare, Globe Head Ballerina is the latest public sculpture by the artist. This piece is a life size work based on a photograph of ballerina Margot Fonteyn. Typical of Shonibare’s previous work, the costume is made of African Dutch wax fabric and the dancer has a Victorian-style globe as her head. Encased within a large snow globe style sphere the ballerina rotates on Pointe.
Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, Fibreglass, steel, brass, resin, UV ink on printed cotton textile, linen rigging, acrylic and wood
Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle
at National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle by Yinka Shonibare MBE is a 1:30 replica of Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory, on which he died during the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. It has 80 cannon and 37 sails set as on the day of battle. The richly patterned sails were inspired by Indonesian batik, mass-produced by Dutch traders and sold in West Africa. Today these designs are associated with African dress and identity. The characteristic bright colours and abstract symmetries of Dutch Wax fabric have accrued many complex, often ambivalent associations – with colonialism, industrialisation, emigration, cultural appropriation, and the invention (and reinvention) of tradition – all of which are foregrounded in Shonibare’s work. Used for the rigging of Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, the legacy of Dutch Wax assumes a further, distinctly maritime significance. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2004, the same year in which he was awarded an MBE (an appellation that he uses when exhibiting and signing works).
Currently on permanent display at National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
To look at previous exhibitions see Press