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Problematic Space - The Devil’s Feast - exhibition review

Review relating to an exhibition, 1987
Published by: Race Today
Year published: 1987
Number of pages: 1

image of Problematic Space - The Devil’s Feast - exhibition review

The Devil’s Feast, Chelsea School of Art, Zarina Bhimji, Chila Burman, Jennifer Comrie, Allan de Souza, and Keith Piper and Donald Rodney, 27 April - 8 May 1987. This review of the exhibition, by Eddie Chambers, was titled, Problematic Space, and appeared in Race Today, Vol. 17 No. 5, June/July 1987 p. 27

From the review: “Five years on, and some of us have finally made it into Chelsea School of Art Gallery. The privileged six being Allan deSouza, Chila Burman, Donald Rodney, Jennifer Comrie, Keith Piper, and Zarina Bhimji. Unfortunately, the rather hurried way in which the exhibition was put together is reflected in the work itself. The contributions appear uneven, unbalanced. Somehow, the exhibition just doesn’t hang together. Maybe it’s just a particularly difficult space.

However, one piece in particular managed to overcome the almost crippling dullness and difficulty of the space. That piece was “The Next Turn of the Screw”, a Piper and Rodney construction and installation. This piece brings our attention to, and comments on the horrific number of black people who have been murdered, raped, and maimed by British police.”

Related people + view all 7

»  Chila Kumari Burman

Born, 1958 in Liverpool, England

»  Eddie Chambers

Born, 1960 in Wolverhampton, England

»  Jennifer Comrie

Born, 1964 in Leeds, England

»  Allan deSouza

Born, 1958 in Nairobi, Kenya

»  Donald Rodney

Born, 1961 in Birmingham, England. Died, 1998

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  Chelsea College of Art and Design Gallery

London, United Kingdom

Return to the Source

Review relating to a film, 1987
Published by: Race Today
Year published: 1987
Number of pages: 1

image of Return to the Source

Return to the Source: The Mark of the Hand, 52 Minute Documentary film on the work of Aubrey Williams, 16mm colour Produced by Kuumba Productions Directed by Imruh Caesar. Reviewed by Errol Lloyd.

Rare review of an increasingly important documentary film, by Imruh Caesar, on Aubrey Williams. The review was written by Jamaican painter Errol Lloyd and appeared in Race Today, October/November 1987, p. 27.

Lloyd began, “This film is very much a pioneering effort, being one of the first documentary films to focus on the work of a Caribbean visual artist, namely Guyanese-born painter Aubrey Williams.” The review concludes, “In spite of its flaws, the film is well worth seeing and all credit is due to Imruh Caesar for conceiving and creating a film which documents a relatively neglected and under-researched area of the arts, and will provide invaluable reference material for future generations.”

Related people

»  Imruh Caesar

Born in St Kitts, date unknown

»  Errol Lloyd

Born, 1943 in Jamaica

»  Aubrey Williams

Born, 1926 in Georgetown, Guyana. Died, 1990

Related venues

»  Chelsea College of Art and Design Gallery

London, United Kingdom

Caboo: The Making of a Caribbean Artist

Article relating to an individual, 1975
Published by: Race Today
Year published: 1975
Number of pages: 4

image of Caboo: The Making of a Caribbean Artist

In examining archival documents relating to Black British artists, (particularly from the 1970s onwards) the question, where are they now? is never far from the mind of the researcher, such is the speed and regularity with which certain artists pass into relative or absolute obscurity.  One particular artist – one of many – to have suffered this fate was a painter going by the name of Caboo, who was the subject of an extensive, four-page article in Race Today magazine, of February 1975, titled, Caboo: The Making of a Caribbean Artist. Not only was the magazine’s cover given over to trailing the text on Caboo, but the following month’s issue of Race Today featured two substantial responses to the feature on Caboo, one of which was signed Rasheed Araeen [and] H.O. Nazareth. This particular response concluded, “Roy Caboo, in the courageous pursuit of artistic creation, affords an example for black youth. He also helps to teach us some mistakes we must avoid in our development.” [Backlash, Caboo: the Making of a Caribbean Artist”, Rasheed Araeen, H.O. Nazareth, Race Today, March 1975: 67-68.] What became of Caboo and numerous others like him?

Beyond this feature, little is about this intriguing Trinidad-born, London painter. Caboo had the cover of this issue of Race Today magazine, with his name rendered in bold and large typography, together with an image detail. In the text itself, Caboo stated, “in the last 9 months coming to work here at Keskidee [The Keskidee Centre hosted a long-term residency by Caboo] gives me the opportunity to hold a studio, hold some materials and start working seriously. So that what you see at the recent exhibition is the beginning of my painting career as such….The exhibition took place at the Keskidee Centre which is the black community centre in North London. A lot of young people attended. I paint with them specifically in mind” (Caboo: The Making of a Caribbean Artist, Race Today, February 1975: 37)

 

Related people

»  Caboo

Born in Trinidad, date unknown

Related venues

»  Chelsea College of Art and Design Gallery

London, United Kingdom

Hemmed In (The Thin Black Line)

Review relating to an exhibition, 1986
Published by: Race Today
Year published: 1986
Number of pages: 1

This was one of a number of reviews of the important 1985 exhibition, The Thin Black Line, curated by Lubaina Himid and held at the ICA, London. There were several distinct features of this review, including that it was written by Kelly Burton, a Black woman, and that it appeared in the important activist magazine, Race Today, which described itself as “Britain’s Leading Black Journal”. The review appeared under the heading Visual Arts, on page 26, of Race Today, January 1986.

From the review: “Just when black artists thought they were being continually relegated to the fringe art galleries by the “powers that be”, the ICA appears to have gone one better and is currently hosting an exhibition of 11 contemporary black women artists.

The initial excitement of seeing an exhibition of this nature getting wider exposure was short-lived. I was rather surprised to see large, looking and indeed overpowering works of art exhibited within the confines of a narrow and inappropriately lit concourse. The placing of the exhibition does little to display or enhance these dramatic pieces of black women’s creativity.”

The review goes on to discuss several of the works in the exhibition, before concluding, “As the exhibition stands, it is not diverse enough  in its approach or message it is seeking to convey, lacking as it does, sufficient fragments of daily life which we as black women readily recognise as representing “universally” experienced images which attract and absorb our attention. On the other hand as a showcase for the work of black women artists “The Thin Black Line” will no doubt inspire and encourage similar exhibitions.”

The review was illustrated with a monochrome reproduction of a work, simply captioned as sculpture by Lubaina Himid.

Related people

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)

London, United Kingdom

The Wind (Finye) film review

Review relating to a film, 1986
Published by: Race Today
Year published: 1986
Number of pages: 1

This was a review of a film by Malian director Souleimane Cissé (the dominant spelling of his name is Souleymane Cissé). The film was Finye (The Wind) and the review was written by John Akomfrah of The Black Audio Film Collective. The review appeared in Race Todaywhich described itself as “Britain’s Leading Black Journal” and appeared under the heading Film, on page 27, of the magazine, January 1986.

From the review: “Souleimane Cissé’s Finye is the first African feature film to open in London for almost a decade. Made in 1981, Finye comes from the West African republic of Mali, which until 1980 only had two feature films to its credit, one of which was made by Cissé. And yet to prove that the power of the purse isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be these days Finye excels as an enduring tale of power, innocence and purification. It represents a labour of love and is a praiseworthy signpost for African cinema in the eighties.”

The review goes on to discuss the film’s storyline, expressing sentiments such as, “Through a close and precisely focussed realism, Finye shows Africa at the crossroads…” In the review, Akomfrah had harsh words for a major charity initiative that had taken place several months earlier, suggesting that Finye offered an altogether more nuanced view of the continent. “Months after the juvenile prattlings of “Feed the World” we see another Africa in Finye with its own scale of priorities.”

The review was illustrated with two monochrome stills from the film.

Related people

»  John Akomfrah OBE

Born, 1957 in Accra, Ghana

»  Souleymane Cissé

Born, 1940 in Bamako, Mali

Related venues

»  Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)

London, United Kingdom