New exhibition explores cultural influence of black artists in Scotland

A new exhibition exploring the contributions of black artists to Scottish culture has opened in Glasgow.

froScots: Revisiting the work of black artists in Scotland through the new Collection has been created to respond to the “whiteness” of existing Scottish art history narratives and is on display at the Gallery the city’s Modern Art Show (GoMA).

It brings together post-1960s artwork, drawing on conversations around race, empire, independence, and postcolonial legacies.

The curators said that although many prominent artists do not necessarily identify as “AfroScots”, people of African descent and Black Caribbeans in Scotland, the term has been used as a loose title for the collection. Collection of artworks on display.


Professor Lubaina Himid CBE and Mother Tongue with Timespan (1987) (Matthew Arthur Williams/PA)

Exhibits include work by Barbadian-Scotland film director Alberta Whittle, who lives and works between Glasgow and Barbados; Maud Sulter (1960–2008), an award-winning artist and writer of Scottish and Ghanaian heritage, living and working in the United Kingdom; and Glasgow-based artist and DJ Matthew Arthur Williams, who has self-published a number of books about the artist and whose work was shown at the Edinburgh Arts Festival last year.

Also included are: Donald Locke (1930-2010), a Guyan-born artist and sculptor whose artwork is included in various collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; Aubrey Williams, a Guyan-born artist, came to England in 1952 to study painting and was also a founding member of the Caribbean Art Movement in the 1960s; artist and researcher Lisandro Suriel, whose project Ghost Island explores the identities of the descendants of slaves who passed through The Middle Passage during the Transatlantic Slave Trade; and Ajamu, whose work focuses on his sexuality and explores the stories of people in the LGTBQ+ community, especially black men.

Glasgow Life, the company that runs GoMA, has been working on screen with a curatorial team called Mother Tongue since 2018.

Mother Tongue’s founders, Tiffany Boyle and Jessica Carden, originally proposed the idea of ​​compiling a chronology of black Scottish artists from the 1860s onwards who lived, studied, traveled and exhibited in the country. this.

The acquisition, which lasted from 1963 to 2019, was supported by the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for the arts, with Professor Lubaina Himid as a mentor.

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They are on display alongside new commissions supported by the Arts Foundation from Barby Asante, a London-based artist, curator and occasional DJ whose work draws on the history and legacy of the owner. colonialism.

Jenny Waldman, Director of the Arts Foundation, said the fundraising team was “delighted” to support new acquisitions for GoMA, adding: “This exhibition brings together an important group of works from GoMA. black Scottish artists working from the 1960s to the present day. for their significant contribution to the cultural landscape of the country. ”

Katie Bruce, of GoMA, said the artwork on display had “amplified the work” of black artists in the Glasgow Life Museums collection.

She added: “It is very exciting that the committee with Barby Asante, which we have been working on since 2017, is being published here for the first time as part of this exhibition alongside the work of others. her colleagues that I am happy to include in the collection.

“I am also grateful to all the artists, artist quarters, collaborators, colleagues, Art Fund and especially Mother Tongue, who have made AfroScots possible, despite the pandemic.”

A spokesperson for Mother Tongue said: “Research based on archival and collection prior to this project has primarily led us to research documents based on, even having been relocated out of Scotland.

“An important part of this project is finding a way to bring together AfroScots artists, their work and life stories, and give them an accessible, local home for audiences. , art learners and future researchers.”

The exhibition, now open to the public, is housed in the main gallery at GoMA. New exhibition explores cultural influence of black artists in Scotland

Fry Electronics Team

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