Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience 1950s-1990s is a project to increase the number of black British photographers and images of black Britain in the V&A collection. It aims to raise awareness of the contribution of black Britons to British culture and society, as well as to the art of photography.
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The Louisianna Project, 2003
Weems came of age in the 1960s and early ’70s in the US, amidst the Civil Rights Movement and second-wave feminism. When she got hold of her first camera in 1973, a 20th birthday present, she was working with a Marxist organization in San Francisco where she lived with her young daughter. Like many artists questioning cultural myths and social conventions around this time, it was through photography that she found a way into the complicated power structures and histories she wanted to redress. Since the 1980s, most often via conceptual photographic series, Weems has recalibrated the visual cues through which we read and understand gender, class and, most powerfully, race. If this makes her work sound didactic or antagonistic, it’s neither. Weems has an intractable belief in the capacity for compassion that inflects her work with wit and generosity. Continue reading Carrie Mae Weems
You’re fine, 1988
Using the camera as catalyst, Lorna Simpson is a conceptual artist who constructs assemblies of text and image, parts to wholes, commenting on the documentary nature of found or staged images. The exhibition follows Simpson’s point of view and themes beginning with her earliest documentary photographs from the late 1970s / early 1980s, never before exhibited, to her most recent works. It includes large-scale photo-text pieces of the mid-1980s that first brought her to critical attention and offered stark abstracted images of an African-American female figure (at times male as well), head cropped from the frame or back turned to the camera, nonetheless given voice through text panels or captions, a proto-cinematic construction of shot and script.
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