Students stood outside the front entrance of the School of Art

The Power of Colour: 40 Years of Black and Asian artistic expression

Student Working Group: Togetherness

Students standing outside the entrance to the School of Art

Alina Ahmad, Khadija Kouser, Chandni Raithatha, Simran Samra, Aparnan Shanmugam, Shannon Ward.

Taking inspiration from the creative and innovative ways the Blk Art Group and British Black Art Movement artists claimed space and visibility within the art world. Artists and designers of colour currently studying at the Wolverhampton School of Art, have been meeting together regularly to share, support and hold space for discussing experiences of being an art student.

On Friday 28th October 2022, the group launched a nation-wide invitation to fellow artists and designers of colour to contribute to a student led gathering which will take place in April 2023. The gathering will aim to celebrate, challenge, inform and inspire the next generation of artists and designers of colour through dialogue with practitioners of colour who have led the way. Accordingly, the proposed gathering, like their precursors, will address what Stuart Hall called the “unfinished conversation” of identity.

Our initial research and conversations with artists, students, and academics of colour around the topic of representation in the arts, has brought forth narratives, stories and lived experiences which have shown us that 40 years later, the legacy of the First Art Convention and the British Black Art Movement and the ideas and themes they centred are still pertinent. Therefore, we would like the gathering to provide a space to take this legacy into new dimensions for artists, students, art teachers, curators, writers, collectives, and organisations from across the country and beyond

For further information follow @WLVTogetherness and @WLV_SOA or send an email to Or visit the University of Wolverhampton webpage below.

About the first Black Art Convention

The first Black Art Convention took place within the Wolverhampton School of Art on the 28th October 1982. This momentous event attracted many of the students and artists who went on to develop significant careers and present challenges to the cannon of 20th century art practice including; 2017 Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid, recipient of the Venice Biennale 2022 Golden Lion, Sonia Boyce, internationally renowned abstract artist Frank Bowling and acclaimed filmmaker John Akomfrah who will represent Great Britain at Venice Biennale in 2024. 

It is safe to say this gathering remains as pertinent today as it did in October 1982. The convention’s organisers were a “group of black art students” known later as the Blk Art Group. Their practice, exhibitions and events from late 1979 to 1984 arguably instigated the British Black Art Movement.  

As a School we are keen to mark the moment through critical conversations, research and events beginning with this exhibition. In October 2022, the student working group hosted an exhibition; Togetherness which will be followed by a student led gathering at the Wolverhampton School of Art and exhibition of work by the Blk Art Group at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery on 29th April 2023.