April 10, 2018 § Leave a comment
I Was There!…( 2018) pen and ink, gold leaf, digital image, vellum, 48 x 38.5 cm
Photo: Chris Keenan
Guest Projects presents Reformation
Kashif Nadim Chaudry Michael Forbes Barbara Walker
03 May – 21 May 2018 Opening times 12noon – 6.30pm
Private View 03 May 2018, 6 – 9pm
Reformation presents the work of three artists who unearth hidden histories. Their work proposes alternative narratives that expose and undermine cultural assumptions. In an exhibition that includes sculpture, installation, and drawing, Reformation explores racial, sexual and personal identities within historic economic and cultural currents that still shape our world today.
All three artists share an interest in remodelling and remaking, using techniques that range from pencil drawing directly onto gallery walls, to the use of textiles and found objects that range from skulls to fake designer handbags. The work of Michael Forbes and Barbara Walker was shown at last year’s Venice Biennale as part of the Diaspora Pavilion, an initiative of the International Curators Forum. Khasif Nadim Chaudry has recently completed a major new commission, The Three Graces, for Turner Contemporary, where he spent a year in residence.
Khasif Nadim Chaudry was trained at Goldsmiths. He uses elaborate, textiles based techniques to create monumental installations from fabric and found objects. His work is concerned with power, the sacred and the ceremonial; he situates his sexuality as a gay man within different religious and political contexts. For Reformation he brings together medieval heraldry and Islamic decoration, creating a louche cast of characters in fetishistic finery to question ritual, custom and belief.
Michael Forbes presents a series of sculptural tableau informed by the entwined political and social histories of Africa, the Caribbean, America, and Europe. Bleeding at the edges and erupting from their formal plinths, tribal masks jostle with historical porcelain figurines and disembowelled electronics. Forbes is concerned with migration – of objects, and of the people who have become refugees. His work alludes to the conspicuous consumption of the new economic empires, as well as the arbitrary cultural acquisitiveness that created historic museum collections. Forbes’ work invites a dialogue on both the post-colonial black presence in Europe and new developing Diasporas.
The visceral drawings of Barbara Walker bring to life the forgotten histories of black servicemen and women in the British Armed Forces. Monumental drawings, often large scale and rendered directly onto gallery walls, powerfully document the erasure and cultural negation of black combatants. In other works these figures are embossed on paper, their ghostly pale shadows a vivid contrast with their meticulously illustrated cohorts, resulting in an optical tussle between absence and presence. Graphite and blind embossing techniques draw attention to the fluidity of history, the way it is made, erased and redrawn, and how its figures are repositioned over time. Unearthing these invisible but true stories, of lives given and indelibly altered in the name of Empire, is a particularly poignant endeavour during the last centenary year of the Great War. Walker’s work is an affecting reminder of the social, political, cultural and individual histories that have been expunged from our collective remembrance.
“The history of the art movement in the UK has always been about artist interventions in the form of group shows framed around the currency of artistic chronicles and for me: Reformation will be a historical marker and a must-see event. It is one of many chapters of a story of how Michael Forbes and Barbara Walker project has emerged from a two-year strategic intervention programme that explored the artistic, challenges, changes, disruptions, and interventions that occur across the global art worlds and documents these processes to allow established, future and emerging artists from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences to discover, learn and develop their professional practice.” David A Bailey MBE
Guest Projects is an initiative conceived by artist Yinka Shonibare MBE which offers the opportunity to artistic practitioners of any artistic discipline to have access to a free project space for one month. Guest Projects provides an alternative universe and playground for artists. It is a laboratory of ideas and a testing ground for new thoughts and actions. www.guestprojects.com
Guest Projects address: Sunbury House, 1 Andrews Road, London E8 4QL
Nearest Tube: Bethnal Green: Nearest Overground: Hoxton. Buses: D6, 26, N26, 48, 55, N55, 106, 388, 236, 254, N253 and 394
Guest Projects is fully wheelchair accessible
Funded by ArtsCouncil England
January 2, 2018 § 1 Comment
7 August – 13 September 2017
Photographs courtesy, The Drawing Room,
Angela Davis and Ellie Tonna
June 6, 2017 § Leave a comment
Transcended: a new series of site-specific, large-scale ephemeral wall drawings depicting male and female soldiers from the Commonwealth in World War I. Connected to an ongoing series Shock & Awe, these works address the ritualistic aspects of war, rites of passage, the idea of rebirth and the social consequences of having fought for your country. The opportunity to be applauded, welcomed back, to be celebrated is negated in the case of black soldiers.
With the outbreak of the First World War, thousands of West Indians volunteered to join the British army on the basis that if they showed their loyalty to the king they would be treated as equals. However, in the beginning only white soldiers were allowed to fight, so the West Indians were relegated to carrying out arduous physical tasks, such as loading ammunition, laying electrical wires, digging trenches, and cleaning latrines for their white colleagues. Transcended provides the opportunity to re-dress the balance and celebrate the contribution of black soldiers to the two World Wars. The striking bold figurative drawings on the walls of the staircase celebrate the contribution of black soldiers to the World Wars, in particular that of soldiers from the British West Indian Regiment who died and were buried in graves in Taranto, Italy, following a mutiny that lasted four days in December 1918.
Currently exhibited at the Diaspora Pavilion during the 57th Venice Biennale.
Palazzo Pisani S Marina,
13 May – 26 November 2017
Larry Achiampong | Barby Asante | Sokari Douglas Camp | Libita Clayton | Kimathi Donkor | Michael Forbes | Ellen Gallagher | Nicola Green | Joy Gregory | Isaac Julien | Dave Lewis | Hew Locke | susan pui san lok | Paul Maheke | Khadija Saye | Yinka Shonibare MBE | Erika Tan | Barbara Walker | Abbas Zahedi.
Diaspora Pavilion is curated by David A Bailey and Jessica Taylor and presented by ICF (International Curators Forum) and University of the Arts London. Supported by Arts Council England’s International Showcasing Fund.
Photo by Izzy Castro
April 6, 2017 § Leave a comment
January 3, 2017 § Leave a comment
Launch Party: UNTITLED
13 January 2017, 6pm – 9pm
6pm: Launch event opens
Complimentary drink on arrival
The CaféBar will be open all night with sets from DJ Nwando Ebizie
7pm: Welcome Speeches
Skinder Hundal (NAE, CEO) and the exhibition curators Paul Goodwin and Hansi Momodu-Gordon
Exhibiting artists: Larry Achiampong & David Blandy, Barby Asante, Appau Junior Boakye-Yiadom, Phoebe Boswell, Kimathi Donkor, Evan Ifekoya, Cedar Lewisohn, Harold Offeh, Ima-Abasi Okon, NT, Barbara Walker
Produced by New Art Exchange and curated in collaboration with NAE by Paul Goodwin and Hansi Momodu-Gordon, UNTITLED: art on the conditions of our time showcases a leading generation of contemporary African diaspora artists in the UK. The show adopts a progressive stance on exhibition-making to allow new ways of thinking about art by African diaspora artists to emerge. In a bold move, fixed curatorial themes have been stripped out to create a stimulating space where artworks can be experienced more openly, and where the interplay between the artists’ practices can be observed. As the exhibition curators state, “This is not a show ‘about’ a coherent movement – instead it presents works by British African diaspora artists outside of the usual framing”.
UNTITLED displays a ‘snapshot’ of art today by mapping a variety of practice and medium, including socially engaged projects and the use of online gaming technology; to painting, drawing, performance, film, printmaking and bookbinding. The exhibition reveals the key concerns of artists working today, from shifting racial, sexual and gendered identities, to investigations of popular culture, social networks, history and conflict. UNTITLED features two brand new commissions by Larry Achiampong and David Blandy, and Barby Asante.
For more information about the exhibition, click here.
December 28, 2016 § Leave a comment
In January, I will be participating in forthcoming group exhibition, ‘Everything Exist Now’, at , Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, 8th January – 18 February 2017.
I will be exhibiting new works from the ongoing series ‘Shock and Awe’. The project critically explores the contribution of black servicemen and women to the British Armed Forces and war efforts from 1914 to the present day
Exhibition opens on the 7th January, 3 pm – 7pm
Dawit Abebe, Chris Agnew, Kristian Evju,
Marie Harnett, Caroline Jane Harris, Sook Jin Jo
Ali Kazim, Mohamed Lekleti, Sverre Malling,
Saad Qureshi, Celina Teague,Barbara Walker, Zhu Wei
Exotic detail in the margin ( 2016) graphite on embossed paper, 44 x 58 cm
Photo: Chris Keenan
NKA Journal of Contemporary African Art-No More “Poisonous, Disrespectful, and Skewed Images of Black People”: Barbara Walker’s Louder Than Words
December 20, 2016 § 3 Comments
I’m very excited to see my work in the recent issue of NKA Journal of Contemporary African Art – Black Portraiture(s). It was such a pleasure and privilege to work with the great academic and writer Celeste Marie Bernier.