The exhibition features twelve artists, all from different generations, working in different styles and addressing different issues. All of them have lived and worked in the UK. Read their biographies below:
Hurvin Anderson (b. 1965)
Born in Birmingham to Jamaican parents, Anderson’s work often explores his Jamaican heritage through depictions of Caribbean landscapes. He also paints interior spaces such as the barbershop, which he sees as a place of affirmation and identity. His work references the creativity and visibility of Blackness within contemporary society, paying homage to cultural and political forebears while also reflecting upon the legacy of painting. He works often from photographs rather than memory, creating a sense of distance which is found throughout his oeuvre.
Anderson studied at Wimbledon School of Art before receiving his MA in painting from the Royal College of Art in London, where Peter Doig was his professor and served as an important influence. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2017. Selected shows include: Backdrop, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada (2016); Backdrop, CAM, St.Louis, USA (2015); Reporting Back, IKON Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2013); and ART NOW: Hurvin Anderson, Tate Britain, London, UK (2009). In 2002 he completed a Caribbean Contemporary Arts Residency Programme in Trinidad.
Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom (b. 1984)
A multi-disciplinary artist, Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom works with moving image, photography, recorded sound and archival material to create compelling installation pieces. He is interested in examining and re-appropriating collective moments and cultural memories.
Boakye-Yiadom completed his Post Graduate Diploma at the Royal Academy Schools in 2008 and received a BA (Hons) in Fine Art; Painting from Winchester School of Art in 2005. Recent projects include: The Weather Garden: Anne Hardy curates the Arts Council Collection, Towner Art Gallery, UK (2019), Naming Rights, Thomas Dane Gallery, London (2017), Untitled, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK, (2017), Critical Contemplation with 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, Tate Exchange, Tate Modern, (2017). Boakye-Yiadom is also a recipient of a Jerwood Visual Arts Artist Bursary, 2017.
Helen Cammock (b. 1970)
Helen Cammock was born to an English mother and Jamaican father in 1970s London. She remembers growing up questioning notions of blackness and womanhood, wealth and poverty, power and vulnerability.
Her artistic practice has grown out of her experiences working with people and her social engagement, and she explores her ideas in a novel, imaginative manner. Cammock uses her own writing, literature, poetry, philosophical and other found texts, often mapping them onto social and political situations. These texts often direct her choice of medium, such as her evocative moving image work which oscillates between the private and collective, re-interpretation and re-presentation of lost, unheard and buried voices.
Her work has drawn on material from Nina Simone, Philip Larkin, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou and Walter Benjamin. Helen Cammock’s work has recently been screened as part of the Serpentine Cinema Series and Tate Artists Moving Image Screening Programme. She is currently one of the short-listed artist for the 2019 Turner Art Prize. She has exhibited at venues including Cubitt, London; Open Source Contemporary Arts Festival; Hollybush Gardens, London; and 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, London. She has written for Photoworks and Aperture magazine and was shortlisted for the Bridport poetry prize in 2015.
Alejandra Carles-Tolra (b. 1988)
Alejandra Carles-Tolra is a photographer from Barcelona, now based in London. She holds an MFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a BA in Sociology from the University of Barcelona. Her work examines the relationship between individual and group identity, and how the latter shapes the former. She is interested in examining the threshold between fiction and nonfiction, past and present. Her work invites the viewer to question where the performance starts and ends, and to challenge where the boundaries between reality and imagination lie.
Carles-Tolra’s work has been published and exhibited internationally. In 2017 she was awarded the Jerwood Visual Arts/ Photoworks Award, for which she produced the body of work Where We Belong. A photograph from the series was selected for the National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize in 2018.
Mona Hatoum (b. 1952)
Mona Hatoum is a British Palestinian artist who works in a wide range of media, including sculpture, video, photography and installation. After studying at Byam Shaw School of Art (1975-9) and Slade School of Fine Art (1979-81), she rose to prominence for her performance and video works focusing on identity and body politics. Since then, her work has increasingly moved to large-scale installation which aim to engage the viewer in conflicting emotions.
Hatoum has been exhibited internationally, including recent monographic shows at Tate Modern (2016), Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2016) and Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art (2017).
Susan Hiller (1940 – 2019)
Susan Hiller was one of the most influential artists of her generation, pioneering multimedia art for over 40 years. Working with both audio-visual technology and everyday objects, Hiller explored the relationship between individual and collective memory, the conscious and the subconscious, rationality and fantasy. Her practice was informed by her scientific training as an anthropologist, as well as the artistic movements of Minimalism and Surrealism. She described her art as ‘Paraconceptual’, occupying a place somewhere between the conceptual and the paranormal. Many major international institutions have collected and organised exhibitions around Hiller’s work. A 2011 retrospective show devoted to Hiller at Tate Britain traced the ingenuity and impact of her artistic career.
Lubaina Himid (b. 1954)
Lubaina Himid’s work explores ideas around Black representation and identity. She addresses ways of retelling and reclaiming difficult, painful histories and has often focused on the legacies of colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade. Her practice ranges from porcelain to woodcuts, and she has described her work as ‘political activism in paint’.
Himid won the Turner Prize in 2017. She is currently Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire. Her work is in many public collections, including Tate, the Victoria & Albert Museum and The International Slavery Museum Liverpool. She has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally and has upcoming solo exhibitions at the New Museum in New York, CAPC in Bordeaux, Tate Britain in London, and the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem.
Hardeep Pandhal (b. 1985)
Hardeep Pandhal graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 2013. His work ranges from installation to music, from video to painting, from textile to drawing. With a caricatural but vibrant style and pop culture references, he sharply addresses contemporary issues relating to religion, post-colonial trauma, sexism and family.
Pandhal has been featured in shows such as Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Spike Island, Bristol and ICA, London (2013), 2018 Triennial: Songs for Sabotage, New Museum, New York (2018), and more recently at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, for the 2019 exhibition Is This Tomorrow? He also has had solo exhibitions since 2017 in London, Glasgow and Birmingham.
Joanna Piotrowska (b. 1985)
Working predominantly in black and white photography, Piotrowska explores domestic spaces, both intimate and claustrophobic. She also considers the impact of family, school and government structures on personal identity.
Piotrowska studied Photography at the Royal College of Art in London and Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. Her work has been exhibited internationally, and featured in Being: New Photography at MoMA (New York, 2018), the 10th Berlin Biennale (2018) and All our false devices at Tate Britain (London, 2019).
Kathy Prendergast (b. 1958)
Kathy Prendergast uses a variety of materials to explore themes of identity. She reimagines familiar objects, such as blankets or spools of thread, to challenge social and domestic roles. Her three-dimensional works often evoke a sense of domesticity while contemplating aging, death, and the passing of identity through generations.
Prendergast is featured in collections at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Tate, and the Albright-Knox Museum, New York. She received her MA Fine Art from the Royal Academy of Art, London (1986) and the Best Young Artist Award at the Venice Biennale (1995).
Donald Rodney (1961 – 1998)
Born in Smethwick, West Midlands to Jamaican parents, Donald Rodney became a leading figure in Britain’s BLK Art Group during 1980s. He studied a BA in Fine Art at Trent Polytechnic in Nottingham, where he encountered artists such as Keith Piper, Eddie Chambers and Claudette Johnson. In the following years, Rodney’s work became increasingly politicised and his practice incorporated a wide range of materials and technical processes in an exploration of issues associated with history, representation, masculinity and racial identity. From childhood Rodney suffered from sickle cell anaemia and in March 1998, he would succumb to the disease, aged 36. Throughout his artistic career, he was interested in examining his experience with the inherited disease, which he used as a metaphor for wider social and political ills present in contemporary society.
Notable exhibitions include The Atrocity Exhibition & Other Empire Stories at the Black-Art Gallery (1986), Crisis at the Chisenhale Gallery (1989) and Body Visual at the Barbican Centre (1996). Rodney’s last solo exhibition, 9 Night in Eldorado at the South London Gallery (1997) was dedicated to the memory of his father. In 2008, The Institute of International Visual Arts held an exhibition entitled Donald Rodney in Retrospect.
Lucy Skaer (b. 1975)
Lucy Skaer was born in Cambridge, UK and currently works between London and Glasgow, where she graduated from the Glasgow School of Art. She has pursued a transversal research that combines drawing, large scale prints, sculptures and videos. Her installations translate a creative process through which objects and images, both at once recognizable and abstracts, are transformed by all sorts of manipulations, repetitions and shifts in scale. Through those displacements, Lucy Skaer questions anachronism and concerns of today’s society.
She was among the six artists selected to represent Scotland at the Venice Biennale in 2007, and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2009. Amongst others, the KT Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin and the Kunsthalle Basel devoted her monographic exhibitions respectively in 2018 and 2009 and her work has been displayed across Germany, France, Australia, the Netherlands, US and Canada to only mention a very few.