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Lionel Morrison

In a letter drawing attention to an exhibition of work by Indian Artists United Kingdom, Lionel Morrison, Principal Information Officer of Commission for Racial Equality made mention of IAUK, “The exhibition consists of paintings by a number of Indians who originally came to Britain as students and have since settled here. Last year [1979] they formed themselves into a group more for reasons of mutual support than because they constitute an identifiable “school” of painting. They believe that if they approach the issues concerning them collectively they stand a better chance of making a positive contribution to the arts and culture of the country they have made their home.”

IAUK was an important initiative involving a number of key artists of Indian birth and background. Burgh House Museum, New End Square, Hampstead, London NW3 was the venue for Exhibition of Paintings by IAUK Indian Artists living in U.K. It was this exhibition that Lionel Morrioson was helping to publicise. The exhibition took place 27 January - 24 February 1980, and featured Yeshwant Mali, Prafulla Mohanti, Lancelot Ribeiro, Suresh Vedak, Ibrahim Wagh, and Mohammad Zakir, all of whom were involved in IAUK. The brochure for the exhibition featured the following useful introduction to IAUK:

“Throughout the history of art, at least throughout the history of modern art, there have been groups of artists. The reason for the existence of these groups have been perhaps as diverse as the ideas behind them. But invariably there have been sound human reasons for these groups to come about.
     The IAUK too has similar reasons for its existence. It is an Association of Professional Artists of Indian origin who have lived and worked in the UK for the last fifteen years or more. It is a revised version of an earlier body - The Indian Painters Collective, 1963 - a revival which is influenced by practical reasons derived from the result of its members’ efforts during their individual struggle for recognition.
     We, the members of IAUK, have come to believe that if the issues concerning us are approached collectively, we stand a better chance of succeeding and thus of making a positive contribution to the arts and culture of this country we have now made our home.
     Among the IAUK‘s aims are the recognition of its members’ work on an equal basis with their British contemporaries and the fulfilment of their rights to the amenities and facilities available in this democratic society. The IAUK would like to assist and promote Indian artists living in this country by showing their work. And, through exhibitions at 8 South Audley Street, London W1, and other selected places, it will attempt to create a growing awareness of the Indian arts and culture among the general public.
     The IAUK is the only organisation of its kind outside India. It functions on strict democratic lines.”

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