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John Mapondera

John Mapondera was Executive Director of Drum Arts Centre, a would-be Black arts centre that Mapondera and others sought to bring into existence in the late 1970s. Amongst the activities of Drum Arts Centre was a 1978 exhibition titled Afro-Caribbean Art, that took place in a central London gallery.

Afro-Caribbean Art was a large open submission exhibition organised by Drum Arts Centre, held 27 April – 25 May 1978 at the Artists Market, 52 Earlham Street, London, WC2. The artists were, Mohammed Ahmed Abdalla, Keith Ashton, Colin Barker, Lloyd George Blair, Frank Bowling, Linward Campbell, Jan Connell, Dam X, D. Dasri, Horace de Bourg, Gordon de la Mothe, Daphne Dennison, Art Derry, Barbara Douglas, Reynold Duncan, Anthony Gidden, Lubaina Himid, Merdelle Irving, Siddig El N’Goumi, Anthony Jadunath (his name appeared in the catalogue as Jadwnagh), Emmanuel Taiwo Jegede, Donald Locke, G. S. Lynch, Errol Lloyd, Cyprian Mandala, Althea McNish, Nadia Ming, Lloyd Nelson, Bill Patterson, Rudi Patterson, Eugene Palmer, Shaigi Rahim, Orville Smith, Jeffrey Rickard Trotman, Adesose Wallace, Lance Watson, and Moo Young. [The last artist listed was likely to have been Tony Moo Young, from Jamaica, though the Moo Young listed in the catalogue was listed as coming from Trinidad.] The only substantial references to this exhibition are a review by Rasheed Araeen, published in Black Phoenix (Afro-Caribbean Art, Black Phoenix, No 2 Summer 1978 pp. 30 – 31), and a review “In View” by Emmanuel Cooper, contained in Art & Artists, Hansom Books, London, Volume 13, Number 3, Issue Number 148, July 1978. A feature on Drum Arts Centre, titled Drum Call for Black Britain, written by Taiwo Ajai appeared in Africa magazine. No. 44 April 1975 p. 43

In his Introduction in the catalogue for Afro-Caribbean Art, the Executive Director of Drum Arts Centre, John Mapondera, drew attention to the ways in which the exhibition had been constructed:

“The exhibition as always can only speak for itself through the work that is on show. However, in conceiving this exhibition we could not escape the fact that some elements of such an exhibition would be unknown before it actually materialized. Being the first of its kind the Open Exhibition of Afro-Caribbean Art in Britain, has had to be an exploratory venture. It’s main purpose was to discover what young Black Artists are working in Britain today, in the hope that the resulting exhibition would help to stimulate and promote the development of such artists.”

Related items

click to show details of Afro-Caribbean Art catalogue

»  Afro-Caribbean Art catalogue

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 1978