On my bookshelf | Black Artists in British Art: A History Since the 1950s, by Eddie Chambers - Museums Association

On my bookshelf | Black Artists in British Art: A History Since the 1950s, by Eddie Chambers

Cheryl Bowen selects a book that holds the space and cultural memory of Black British art
Artists Bookshelf
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Cheryl Bowen
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For me, this is a must-have book that created a resurgence of my own learning, research, and journey into exploring British art. 

The book highlights the significant contribution, impact, and legacy of African and African Caribbean artists in British art. 

I can reflect on seeing people like me as artists during the 1990s, artwork reflecting my experience growing up in the UK. It depicts a world and narrative that I understood and felt relevant. It was published at a time when I could go to a range of Black art galleries and feel excited in doing so, and did not have to “be prepared for my visit”.  

In addition, my journey on an exhibition and programme I was part of in 2007, called Abolition 07, featured the work of Ghanaian artist Godfried Donkor. The artist appears on the front cover of Chambers’ book, namely the work Slave to Champ II, 2007, composed of mixed media collage on paper.

This book for me holds the space and cultural memory of Black British art that has been neglected. We need to continue mapping the Black history journey, research wider narratives and share the contribution of Black British artists in the UK and the diaspora.  

Cheryl Bowen works at Sheffield Museums and is co-director of Museum X and a trustee of Arts Catalyst 

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