The Power of Colour: 40 Years of Black and Asian artistic expression
Student Working Group: Togetherness
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
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.
3.30 - 4.30pm, Foyer & Lecture theatre
The Power of Colour: Exhibition Launch
This exhibition will connect creativity and experiences of students from across the UK.
4.30 - 5.30pm, Lecture Theatre
Three Songs on Pain, Time and Light: Film Screening
A video portrait of artist Donald Rodney made in 1995 by Trevor Mathison and Edward George, produced with the Black Audio Film Collective. Preceded by an introduction and discussion with Trevor Mathison and Ian Sergeant.
5.40 - 6.40pm, Lecture Theatre
‘The Power of Colour’ student panel conversation
A panel conversation with art and design students discussing their practice; Christian Azolan, Farrah Akbarali and Melina Merlin Paesler.
Chaired by Saijid Adrus?? Formally open reading room space.
6.40 - 8.30pm, Café and Foyer
Food, performances and DJs
An opportunity to network and connect with performances (TBC), DJs and food.
3.00 - 8.30pm
Reading Room, Bessant Gallery, Ground Floor
A quiet space containing books, magazines and archival material designed by students and led by Khadijah Kouser.