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Beyond my Grandfathers’ Dreams: George Fowokan Kelly

Solo show at Jamaica High Commission. 1994
Date: 18 July, 1994 until 2 August, 1994
Organiser: Jamaica High Commission, London

The Jamaica High Commission, 1 - 2 Prince Consort Road, London, SW7 2BZ, was the venue for Beyond my Grandfathers’ (sic) Dreams: An Exhibition of Sculptures by Fowokan. The exhibition’s dates were 18 July - 2 August 1994. In the catalogue’s credits, the exhibition was stated as being ‘Presented by Kito Art Gallery - Contemporary African Art by Artists of African descent’, though no details of the gallery’s location are given. The exhibition consisted of sculptural works made by the artist during the 1980s and 1990s. The work reflected and embodied a particular Black consciousness and Afrocentricism, for which Fowokan is known and respected.

From the Foreword, by Professor Stuart Hall: “K.G. Kelly is one of the many “Black British” artists who is working in the tradition of the diaspora. Born in Jamaica, of African descent, he has lived since childhood in England, the imperial metropolitan centre. He has travelled widely in the Far East, Europe, America and in Africa. It was in Nigeria, where he reconnected with the traditions of African representation in the great historic centre of Yoruba culture, the City of Benin.”

Fowokan’s sculptures included renderings of proud, noble sons and daughters of Africa, and faithfull representations of Black heroes such as Mary Seacole and Malcolm X, all executed in his preferred mediums of iron resin, bronze resin, cement fondu, and so on.

From Fowokan’s Introduction: “Beyond my grandfathers’ wildest dreams is the title of one of the pieces in this exhibition. This title came to me as I noticed for the first time the quality of the beauty of the piece. I realised that it was highly unlikely that my enslaved foreparents on the plantations in Jamaica, would ever have been exposed to African beauty through art. They lived a long time before the dawn of the elavation of African ideals by Africans in the Diaspora. By elevation of African ideals I mean, the defining, valuing and the expression of laws and principles that determine our own models of beauty in art, and taste. The struggle to define and re-define this ideal is an ongoing process. The pieces in this exhibition are the result of my struggle.”

Note: throughout the catalolue, Grandfathers is written with a misplaced apostrophe.

Related items

click to show details of Beyond My Grandfathers’ (sic) Dreams: Fowokan catalogue

»  Beyond My Grandfathers’ (sic) Dreams: Fowokan catalogue

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 1994

People in this exhibition

»  George Fowokan Kelly

Born, 1938 - 1948 (probably 1943) in Kingston, Jamaica

Exhibition venues

»  Jamaica High Commission

London, United Kingdom