Art & Design

February 8, 2017

Surveying Black British Art in the 80s

A new exhibition asks urgent conversations about race and art

  • Written by Amuse Team

Bringing 100 works by 30 artists and collectives together under one roof, Nottingham Contemporary’s new exhibition – titled The Place is Here – asks some urgent conversations around race and art both historically and today.

Looking back at Black British art in the 1980s, through artists, writers, thinkers and institutions who explored identity, racism and colonial legacies the exhibition surveys a decade of British past in which racial division and economic inequality were rife. But out of this hot bed of ideas came a new generation of thought.


Lubaina Himid, A Fashionable Marriage, 1986. Image courtesy of the artist.

As Lubaina Himid – a key figure in the exhibition, and from whom the exhibition’s title is borrowed – wrote in 1985, “We are claiming what is ours and making ourselves visible.” It was a time when urgent questions were asked about accepted social values, visible across different media through what art historian Kobena Mercer has described as “formal and aesthetic strategies of hybridity”.

The Place is Here will span painting, sculpture, installation, photography, video and archival displays from the 1980s, exploring this pivotal decade for British culture and politics. With not to be missed works on display from Sonia Boyce, Eddie Chambers, Mona Hatoum, Lubaina Himid and Isaac Julien.


Chila Kumari Burman, 1982. Image courtesy of the artist.

The Place is Here will run from 4 February to 30 April at Nottingham Contemporary.


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