Migrations: Journey into British Art: Tate Britain Gallery 2
31st January -12 August 2012
www.tate.org.uk/tickets/ Migrations: Journey into British Art is crated by a group of Tate Curators headed by Lizzie Carey Thomas:
Tate Britain Presents an exhibition called Migrations exploring how British Art has been shaped by Migration.
It demonstrates the very rich diversity of foreign immigrants from early Modern Britain and focusing on Black Britain it shows the influence of these immigrants and the influence of its ethnic mix in British Society Its strengths as an exhibition illustrates the attraction Britain has been to foreign immigrants and the reason for their investment’s to the country from the West Indian men and women of the “Wind rush Generation” from 1948-1960’s contributions to the strong Labour pool alongside industries like London Transport and the National Health service. All migrant groups in Britain have been faced with the hostility within the Labour Markets, but Afro-Caribbean communities faced high unemployment in post war Britain. The arrival of Newcomers changing the urban geography and fuelling the economy contributing to the Cultural Life of Britain. The Exhibition demonstrates Artists in Pursuit of an International Language, Artists from the British Colonies came to invest in Education and range of academic fields. The importance of early memories is centred in the paintings of British Guyana Painter Frank Bowling RA.The image of his mother‘s grocery store in British Guyana indicates the importance of personal memories in the formulation of his artistic language, the map’s of Guyana reveal an engagement with the political subject matter’s. It also includes the Black British Audio film Collective Hans worth song 1986 a film that deploys hybrid representations on the early 1980’s race riots against the repressive police measures in the working class migrant area’s of Birmingham. The key work of “Hands worth song” 1986 is a lyrical and poetic meditation on the traumatic aftermath of inner-city riot in London, Liverpool and Birmingham in the 1980’s.Hansworth song was meant to befininshed for the third cinema conference in Edinburgh but wasn’t ready so the first screening was the Birmingham film festival, the film takes its point of departure the riots that broke out in the streets of Hans worth Birmingham September 1985
Donald Rodney’s work- 1961-1998- “In the house of my father” – A photograph on paper, as the bible says there are many room in the house of my father he show cases the evolution of Artists responding to conflicts over migration, race and identity went hand in hand with the personal struggle. Donald Rodney, died young with chronic illness sickle cell anaemia, but is show cased in the New Black Diasporic Voices section of Migrations, his work much like Steve McQueen’s film, in the Moving Image space- “Static” is a seven minute loop shot from a helicopter circling around the statue of Liberty bringing the “Women escaping the chains of tyranny” with close ups its a very powerful take on the United States static brings to question both fixed identity the sound of the helicopters blades representing the military menace. The illustration of the migrant artists from the commonwealth from the 1950’s and 1960’s probes the questions of the influence of ethnicity upon British Art and its continually shifting demon graphic art collections, it reminded my early visit to Australia’s Museum’s and Art Galleries and what it was collecting alongside Nolan’s Nolan, back in the 1950’s New World developing countries with different agenda’s and different audiences. Juliette Goddard MA (RCA)