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Transforming the Crown

Group show at Studio Museum in Harlem, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Caribbean Cultural Center. 1997 - 1998
Date: 14 October, 1997 until 15 March, 1998
Curator: Mora J. Beauchamp-Byrd
Organiser: Caribbean Cultural Center

Transforming the Crown: African, Asian and Caribbean Artists in Britain 1966 - 1996 was an exhibition presented by The Caribbean Cultural Center, New York. The exhibition was shown across three venues: October 14, 1997 - March 15 1998, The Studio Museum in Harlem; October 15, 1997 - March 15, 1998, The Bronx Museum of the Arts; October 16, 1997 - March 15, 1998, Picturing England: The Photographic Narratives of Vanley Burke, a component of Transforming the Crown, The Caribbean Cultural Center. All venues were in New York or the Bronx.

Catalogue produced in 1997. Mora J. Beauchamp-Byrd, who was at the time Curator and Director of Special Projects at the Caribbean Cultural Center curated the exhibition. Transforming the Crown was an ambitious exhibition and though there were several notable and conspicuous omissions, it was nevertheless a comprehensive undertaking. It brought together a large number of artists, all of whom had connections to the UK, either by birth, or by residence, either permanent or temporary. It featured work by Faisal Abdu’Allah, Said Adrus, Ajamu, Henrietta Atooma Alele, Hassan Aliyu, Marcia Bennett, Zarina Bhimji, Sutapa Biswas, Sylbert Bolton, Sonia Boyce, Winston Branch, Vanley Burke, Chila Kumari Burman, Sokari Douglas Camp, Anthony Daley, Allan deSouza, Godfried Donkor, Nina Edge, Uzo Egonu, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Denzil Forrester, Armet Francis, Joy Gregory, Sunil Gupta, Lubaina Himid, Bhajan Hunjan, Meena Jafarey, Gavin Jantjes, Emmanuel Taiwo Jegede, Claudette Elaine Johnson, Mumtaz Karimjee, Rita Keegan, Fowokan George Kelly, Roshini Kempadoo, Juginder Lamba, Errol Lloyd, Jeni McKenzie, Althea McNish, David Medalla, Shaheen Merali, Bill Ming, Ronald Moody, Olu Oguibe, Eugene Palmer, Tony Phillips, Keith Piper, Ingrid Pollard, Franklyn Rodgers, Veronica Ryan, Lesley Sanderson, Folake Shoga, Yinka Shonibare, Gurminder Sikand, Maud Sulter, Danijah Tafari, Geraldine Walsh, and Aubrey Williams. Donald Rodney was included in the catalogue, but his work was not in the exhibition itself.

The exhibition’s catalogue is extensively illustrated throughout. Contents as follows: Contributors [M. Franklin Sirmans (catalogue essay editor), Mora J. Beauchamp-Byrd, Eddie Chambers, Okwui Enwezor, Kobena Mercer, Gilane Tawadros, Anne Walmsley, Deborah Willis, Judith Wilson (catalogue essayists); Catalogue and Exhibition Credits; President’s Foreword (Dr. Marta Moreno Vega); Acknowledgments (Mora J. Beauchamp-Byrd); Introduction (Mora J. Beauchamp-Byrd). Followed by eight essays: London Bridge: Late 20th Century British Art and the Routes of ‘National Culture’ (Mora J. Beauchamp-Byrd); The Caribbean Artists Movement (Anne Walmsley); Bodies of Diaspora, Vessels of Desire: The Erotic and the Aesthetic (Kobena Mercer); Running With the Hare and Hunting With the Hounds (Gilane Tawadros); Talking Back: Black Women’s Visual Liberation Through Photography (Deborah Willis); Surfing the “Black” Diasporic Web: Postcolonial British Art and the Decolonization of U.S. Visual Culture (Judith Wilson); The Emergence of the Black British Artist (Eddie Chambers). The final essay is A Question of Place: Revisions, Reassessments, Diaspora (Okwui Enwezor). There then follows the following sections: Exhibition Color Plates, Artist Biographies, Chronology, Exhibition Checklist, Bibliography and Photo Credits.

The exhibition secured a significant amount of press coverage, both within the US and also within the UK.

Related items

click to show details of Transforming the Crown

»  Transforming the Crown

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 1997

People in this exhibition + view all 60

»  Said Adrus

Born, 1958 in Kampala, Uganda

»  Sonia Boyce MBE

Born, 1962 in London, England

»  Lubaina Himid MBE

Born, 1954 in Zanzibar, Tanzania

»  Gavin Jantjes

Born, 1948 in Cape Town, South Africa

»  Keith Piper

Born, 1960 in Malta

Exhibition venues

»  The Bronx Museum of the Arts

United States of America

»  Caribbean Cultural Center

United States of America

»  Studio Museum in Harlem

New York, United States of America

Mora J. Beauchamp-Byrd

Mora J. Beauchamp-Byrd is a US-based writer, professor and curator. She was for a time Curator and Director of Special Projects, Caribbean Cultural Center. In this capacity she was responsible for the major exhibition Transforming the Crown: African, Asian, and Caribbean Artists in Britain, 1966-1996, Caribbean Cultural Center New York, 1997. This was an exhibition spread across three venues in New York, the Caribbean Cultural Center, the Bronx Museum and the Studio Museum in Harlem. For the Transforming the Crown catalogue she supplied the Acknowledgments, Introduction and an essay titled ‘London Bridge: Late 20th Century British Art and the Routes of ‘National Culture’’. Several years later, for the Back to Black catalogue she supplied the essay ‘Everyday People: Vanley Burke & the Ghetto as Genre’. Beauchamp-Byrd appeared briefly in the film on Donald Rodney made in 1996 by the Black Audio Film Collective, ‘Three Songs on Pain,Time & Light’.

From the Contributors page of Critical Interventions, Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture, Number 12, Fall 2013, special issue on Black Artists in Europe, guest edited by Eddie Chambers:

Mora J. Beauchamp-Byrd was Assistant Professor of Art History and Curator of University Art Collections at Xavier University of Louisiana, and has, sibnce 2015, been a Visiting Professor at Spelman College. She holds a PhD in Art History from Duke University in the Department of Art, Art History and Visual Studies. She also holds a BA in Art History and an MA in Visual Arts Administration from New York University, and earned an MA in Art History from Columbia University. A curator and art historian, her areas of specialization include the Art of the African Diaspora, including African American and Caribbean art; Modern and Contemporary British Art with a specialization in British artists of African, Asian and Caribbean descent; and eighteenth-century British art.”

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click to show details of Back to Black - catalogue

»  Back to Black - catalogue

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 2005

click to show details of Critical Interventions Number 12, Fall 2013

»  Critical Interventions Number 12, Fall 2013

Magazine relating to a publication, 2014

click to show details of Transforming the Crown

»  Transforming the Crown

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 1997

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  The Bronx Museum of the Arts

United States of America

»  Caribbean Cultural Center

United States of America

»  Studio Museum in Harlem

New York, United States of America