Back to Black - Art, Cinema and the Racial Imaginary

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    The 1960s and 70s was a period of dramatic transformation among black communities across the world, one that pushed the successes of the civil rights movement beyond a utopian colour blindness and straight into the heart of an emphatic racial consciousness.

    Back to Black - Art, Cinema and the Racial Imaginary presents a major survey of the Black Arts Movement in the US, Jamaica and Britain in the 1960s and 70s.

    Tracing its cultural impact in painting, sculpture, photography and drawing, it also focuses on the fashion, music and film that emerged over two decades. Symbols such as the raised fist, Afro and dreadlock hairstyles, African and Caribbean inspired clothing, media images of the inhabitants of the ghetto, and icons such as Angela Davis, Mohammed Ali and Bob Marley all infiltrated the art and popular culture of the period.

    Artists such as Ernie Barnes, Vanley Burke and Peter Simon were fascinated with inner city ghettos from Los Angeles to Kingston to Birmingham, while Faith Ringgold and Barkley L. Hendricks focused on fashion and the body as tools for social masquerade and invention. In Jamaica, Kapo and Osmond Watson conveyed images of a spiritual and idyllic Africanity, while Elizabeth Catlett, David Hammons and Gavin Jantjes were among many artists who combined political sentiment with a powerful aesthetic. Throughout the exhibition, 'Blaxploitation' and art films, as well as the sounds and imagery of soul, funk and reggae, testify to the multiple roles that blackness has played in mainstream popular culture.

    Admission free

    Artists and filmmakers on show include; Theodoros Bafaloukos, Ernie Barnes, Stig Bjorkman, Romare Bearden, Dawoud Bey, Everald Brown, Vanley Burke, Stephen Burrows, Marcel Camus, Elizabeth Catlett, Larry Cohen, William Crain, Ossie Davis, Brian DePalma, Maya Deren, Haile Gerima, Christopher Gonzales, Guy Hamilton, David Hammons, Barkley L. Hendricks, Perry Henzell, Jack Hill, Gavin Jantjes, Kapo, Kofi Kayiga, Patrick Lichfield, Donald Locke, Ed Love, Edna Manley, Arthur Marks, Gilbert Moses III, Horace Ové, Joe Overstreet, Gordon Parks, Adrian Piper, Sidney Poitier, Faith Ringgold, Eddie Romero, Betye Saar, Barry Shear, Peter Simon, Melvin Van Peebles, Osmond Watson, Charles White, Aubrey Williams, Llewellyn Xavier

    Back to Black - Art, Cinema and the Racial Imaginary is curated by Dr Petrine Archer-Straw, David A. Bailey and Professor Richard J Powell.

    This exhibition is part of Africa 2005, a year-long celebration of contemporary and past cultures from across the continent and the Diaspora which embraces the diversity of arts, heritage and audiences.

    The exhibition's partner Rich Mix has produced a soundtrack to Back to Black - a limited edition vinyl record of rare music from the time. Rich Mix is a new creative place for London, offering fresh curatorial, selection, educational and entrepreneurial practices within a digital environment opening in 2006.

    The exhibition tours to Walsall, Midlands, Sept - Nov 2005
    Funded by
    The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
    Peter Norton Family Foundation
    The Judith Rothschild Foundation, in support of Charles White
    The Arts Council England