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Back to Black: Art, Cinema and the Racial Imaginary

Group show at The New Art Gallery Walsall, Whitechapel Art Gallery. 2005
Date: 7 June, 2005 until 4 September, 2005
Curator: Richard J Powell, David A Bailey, Petrine Archer-S
Organiser: Whitechapel Art Gallery

Back to Black was a large-scale exhibition held at Whitechapel Art Gallery and subsequently at The New Art Gallery Walsall in 2005. It was a major centrepiece of Africa 05 and was curated by David A. Bailey (UK), Richard J. Powell (USA) and Petrine Archer-Straw (Jamaica).

Back to Black: Art, Cinema and the Racial Imaginary focuses on the rise of the Black Arts Movement in the US, Britain and Jamaica in the 1960s & 1970s, bringing together over forty artists whose work defined the emergence of a radical & powerful aesthetic. Their work testifies to a complex & widespread range of influences, breathtaking in their geographic, temporal and cultural sweep. African symbols & traditions blend with images of contemporary life; the symbols of radical, militant activism with an imagined Afrofuturism. Played out across the broad cultural spectrum to encompass the visual arts, film, music & fashion, their work reveals a common visual language shared among artists across the Black Atlantic, and profoundly influential to subsequent generations. We hope the exhibition will address a lacuna in standard narratives of modern and contemporary visual culture by contributing a scholarly understanding of this important black cultural legacy. Back to Black is part of Africa 2005, a year-long celebration of contemporary & past cultures from across the continent & the Diaspora which embraces the diversity of arts, heritage & audience” Back to Black was first conceived by David A. Bailey & Richard J. Powell, who were later joined by Petrine Archer-Straw.

From the Preface of the Back to Black catalogue by Iwona Blazwick, (Whitechapel), Andrea Tarzia (Whitechapel) and Stephen Snoddy (Walsall)

Related items

click to show details of Back to Black - brochure

»  Back to Black - brochure

Brochure relating to an exhibition, 2005

click to show details of Back to Black - catalogue

»  Back to Black - catalogue

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 2005

click to show details of Back to Black: art, cinema and the racial imaginary

»  Back to Black: art, cinema and the racial imaginary

Review relating to an exhibition, 2005

click to show details of How Sweet It Was

»  How Sweet It Was

Article relating to an exhibition, 2005

People in this exhibition + view all 46

»  Melvin Van Peebles

Born, 1932

»  Charles White

Born, 1918. Died, 1979

»  Aubrey Williams

Born, 1926 in Georgetown, Guyana. Died, 1990

»  Llewellyn Xavier

Born, 1945 in St Lucia

Exhibition venues

»  The New Art Gallery Walsall

Walsall, United Kingdom

»  Whitechapel Art Gallery

London, United Kingdom