Tate Britain 2011-2012
In the early 1980s three exhibitions in London curated by Lubaina Himid – Five Black Women at the Africa Centre (1983), Black Women Time Now at Battersea Arts Centre (1983-4) and The Thin Black Line at the Institute for Contemporary Arts (1985) – marked the arrival on the British art scene of a radical generation of young Black and Asian women artists. They challenged their collective invisibility in the art world and engaged with the social, cultural, political and aesthetic issues of the time.
The exhibition featured a selection of key works by some of these artists. At their core is a conceptual reframing of the image of black and Asian women themselves. Drawing on multiple artistic languages and media, these works repositioned the black female presence from the margins to the centre of debates about representation and art making.
Most of the works on display were lent by the Arts Council and from artists’ private collections. They and local museums were more proactive at the time than national museums such as Tate in collecting these works.
The participants in the three exhibitions were: Brenda Agard, Sutapa Biswas, Sonia Boyce, Chila Burman, Jean Campbell, Jennifer Comrie Margaret Cooper, Elizabeth Eugene, Lubaina Himid, Claudette Johnson, Mumtaz Karimjee, Cherry Lawrence, Leslee Wills, Houria Niati, Ingrid Pollard, Veronica Ryan, Marlene Smith, Maud Sulter and Andrea Telman.
This display was devised by artist Lubaina Himid MBE, Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire, with curator Paul Goodwin.
Photos: ©Denise Swanson FBIPP
For more information and images from the Thin Black Line(s) exhibition visit: