Black Chronicles II Explores Historic Photographs Depicting Black People In Britain

Black Chronicles II is a new exhibition revealing black presences in 19th and early 20th century Britain, as seen in over 200 recently discovered photographs, most of which have never been exhibited or published before. These images present new knowledge and offer different ways of seeing the black subject in Victorian Britain, and contribute to an ongoing process of redressing persistent ‘absence’ within the historical record. Black Chronicles II runs at Rivington Place, London from 12 September until 29 November 2014 and admission is free.

For the first time, a comprehensive body of photographs depicting black people in Britain prior to the beginning of the Second World War are brought together in this exhibition – identified through original research carried out in the holdings of national public archives and by examining privately owned collections.

A highlight of the show  – together with a display of over 100 original ‘cartes-de-visite’ – is the discovery of 30 individual portraits of members of The African Choir, who toured Britain during1891–93. These extraordinary portraits by the London Stereoscopic Company have remained unopened for over 120 years, and are presented alongside those of other visiting performers, dignitaries, servicemen, missionaries, and many as yet unidentified black Britons – their presence bearing direct witness to Britain’s colonial and imperial history and the expansion of Empire.

The second in a series of exhibitions dedicated to excavating archives, Black Chronicles II showcases Autograph ABP’s commitment to continuous critical enquiry into archive images which have been overlooked, under-researched or simply not recognised as significant previously, yet are highly relevant to black representational politics and cultural history today.

Top Image: John Xiniwe and Albert Jonas, London Stereoscopic Company studios, 1891. Courtesy of © Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Black Chronicles II 12 September – 29 November 2014 Rivington Place, London, EC2A 3BA Free

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