The Place Is Here brings together around 100 works by over 30 artists and collectives spanning painting, sculpture, installation, photography, video and archival displays from the 1980s, exploring this pivotal decade for British culture and politics.
The exhibition evokes urgent and wide-ranging conversations taking place between black artists, writers, thinkers and institutions that addressed identity and representation, racism and colonial legacies. The 1980s was a time of racial division, economic inequality and civil unrest in Britain. Equally, art, its history and institutions were perceived as white and western-centric. Today, these debates feel more relevant than ever.
Throughout the exhibition, montage emerges as a key device through which artists were re-assembling histories and identities under new terms. The Place Is Here is itself conceived of as a kind of montage. Different positions, voices, media and archives are assembled to present a portrait of a period that is not tightly defined, finalised or pinned down.
Artists include: John Akomfrah, Rasheed Araeen, Martina Attille, David A. Bailey, Sutapa Biswas, Zarina Bhimji, Black Audio Film Collective, Sonia Boyce, Vanley Burke, Ceddo, Eddie Chambers, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Joy Gregory, Sunil Gupta, Mona Hatoum, Lubaina Himid, Gavin Jantjes, Claudette Johnson, Isaac Julien, Chila Kumari Burman, Dave Lewis, Mowbray Odonkor, Pratibha Parmar, Maybelle Peters, Keith Piper, Ingrid Pollard, Donald Rodney, Veronica Ryan, Marlene Smith, Maud Sulter
Archives: Blk Art Group Research Project, African-Caribbean, Asian & African Art in Britain Archive (Chelsea College of Arts Library, University of the Arts), The June Givanni Pan African Cinema Archive (including films by Imruh Bakari, Ceddo, Amani Naphtali and Maybelle Peters), Making Histories Visible Archive (Centre of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire), The Stuart Hall Library, Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts), London.
The Place Is Here is curated by Nick Aikens and Sam Thorne. The exhibition is an expanded version of a presentation Aikens curated at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, in 2016, titled Thinking Back: A Montage of Black Art in Britain. Archival displays are curated in collaboration with Vanley Burke, June Givanni, Lubaina Himid, Claudette Johnson, Keith Piper and Marlene Smith.