Exhibition | Artist and Empire: Facing Britain’s Imperial Past

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 23, 2015

Opening this week at Tate Britain:

Artist and Empire: Facing Britain’s Imperial Past
Tate Britain, London, 25 November 2015 — 10 April 2016

9781849763431This autumn Tate Britain presents a major exhibition of art associated with the British Empire from the 16th century to the present day. In 21st-century Britain, ‘empire’ is highly provocative. Its histories of war, conquest and slavery are difficult and painful to address but its legacy is everywhere and affects us all. Artist and Empire will bring together extraordinary and unexpected works to explore how artists from Britain and around the world have responded to the dramas, tragedies and experiences of the Empire. Featuring a vast array of objects from collections across Britain, including maps, flags, paintings, photographs, sculptures and artefacts, the exhibition examines how the histories of the British Empire have shaped art past and present. Contemporary works within the exhibition suggest that the ramifications of the Empire are far from over. The show raises questions about ownership, authorship and how the value and meanings of these diverse objects have changed through history, it also asks what they still mean to us today.

Historic works by artists such as Joshua Reynolds and George Stubbs are shown with objects including Indian miniatures and Maori artefacts, as well as contemporary works by Hew Locke and Sonia Boyce. Through this variety of artworks from a complex mix of traditions, locations and cultures the fragmented history of the Empire can be told.

Alison Smith, David Blayney Brown, Carol Jacobi, Artist and Empire: Facing Britain’s Imperial Past (London: Tate, 2015), 240 pages, ISBN: 978-1849763431, $65.

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From Tate Britain:

Artist and Empire: New Dynamics, 1790 to the Present Day
Tate Britain, London, 24–26 November 2015

Tate Britain’s major conference, held in collaboration with Birkbeck, University of London and culture at King’s College London, marks the opening of the exhibition Artist and Empire. Scholars, curators and artists from around Britain and the world consider art created under the conditions of the British Empire, its aftermath, and its future in museum and gallery displays.

Scholarship of art associated with the British Empire has expanded over the last two decades, across a huge span of disciplines and locations. This conference takes the historic opportunity of the exhibition, featuring diverse artists from the sixteenth century to the present day, to bring together people to meet and share the latest research being developed around this subject. The papers, roundtables and audience discussions will consider the cosmopolitan character of objects and images, and the way geographical, cultural and chronological dislocations have in many instances obscured, changed or suppressed their history, significance and aesthetics. We will also explore how approaches to contemporary art, archives, curation and collecting can help develop new ways to look at them now.

T U E S D A Y ,  2 6  N O V E M B E R  2 0 1 5

18.00  Opening Conversation
Introduction by Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate
Frank Bowling OBE, Artist and Writer, with Zoe Whitley, Curator, International Art, Tate Modern

W E D N E S D A Y ,  2 5  N O V E M B E R  2 0 1 5

9.00  Registration and refreshments

9.30  Introduction

9.40  Panel 1 | Displaced Practices: Artists and Exchanges
Chaired by Felix Driver, Professor of Human Geography at Royal Holloway
• Michael Rosenthal (Emeritus Professor of Art History at the University of Warwick), Augustus Earle: Seeing Straight
• Geoff Quilley (Professor of Art History at the University of Sussex), Inside Empire Looking Out: The View from Dent’s Veranda
• Partha Mitter (Emeritus Professor of Art History at the University of Sussex), Art Education in India

11.20  Refreshment break

11.40  Panel 2 | Moving Objects: Collecting, Archives, Display
Chaired by John Mack, Professor of World Art Studies at the University of East Anglia and Chairman of the Sainsbury Institute for Art
• Alison Inglis (Associate Professor in Art History at the University of Melbourne), Collecting and Displaying British Art in the Australian Colony
• Zachary Kingdon (Curator of the African Collections at the World Museum in Liverpool), Unofficial Exchanges: Investigating West Africans’ Gifts to UK Museums in the Early Colonial Period
• Nick Thomas (Director of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge), Artefacts of Encounter: Rethinking Objects and Collections

13.20  Lunch break

14.00 Panel 3 | Face to Face: Figures, Portraits and Identities
Chaired by Elizabeth Edwards, Research Professor in Photographic History and Director of Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University
• Temi Odumosu (Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at Copenhagen University), This Is How You See Her? Rachel Pringle of Barbados by Thomas Rowlandson’s Hand
• Gillian Forrester (Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Yale Center for British Art), Noel B. Livingston’s Gallery of Illustrious Jamaicans
• Ruth Phillips (Canada Research Chair in Modern Culture and Professor of Art History at Carleton University), Sir Henry Acland Mi’kmaq Woman from Nova Scotia and a Mi’kmaq Dressed Doll: The Tensions of Imperialism and Indigenous Survivance and Resistance

15.40  Refreshment break

16.00  Plenary: Reflecting on the Future
Chaired by Augustus Casely-Hayford, Historian, Writer and Curator
Catherine Hall, Professor of Modern British Social and Cultural History at University College London
Zareer Masani, Historian and Writer

T H U R S D A Y ,  2 6  N O V E M B E R  2 0 1 5

9.00  Registration and refreshments

9.30  Introduction

9.40  Panel 4 | Confronting Empire: Curating Artistic Legacies
Chaired by Sarah Victoria Turner, Assistant Director for Research at the Paul Mellon Centre
• Elisabeth Lalouschek (Artistic Director of the October Gallery)
• Devika Singh (Smuts Research Fellow at the Centre of South Asian Studies, Cambridge University)

10.55  Refreshment break

11.15  Panel 5 | Archived Futures: Mediating Collections and Archives
Chaired by Hammad Nasar, Head of Research and Programmes at the Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong
• Brook Andrew (Artist), Re-envisioning Archives and Aboriginal Culture
• Caroline Bressey (Director of the Equiano Centre, Department of Geography at UCL)
• Shaheen Merali (Writer, Curator and Co-founder of Panchayat), Panchayat

12.55  Lunch break

13.35  Panel 6 | Curating in Transnational Contexts in London
Chaired by Professor Paul Goodwin, Director of the Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN) at the University of the Arts London
The India Festival (Victoria and Albert Museum, June 2015 — March 2016)
Kriti Kapila, Lecturer in Social Anthropology and Law at King’s College, London
West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song (British Library, October 2015 — February 2016)
Toby Green, Lecturer in Lusophone African History and Culture at King’s College, London, Marion Wallace, Lead Curator, African Collections, British Library, Co-curator
Artist and Empire: Facing Britain’s Imperial Past (Tate Britain, November 2015 — April 2016)
Javed Majeed, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at King’s College London, Alison Smith, Senior Curator of British Art at Tate Britain

14.50  Refreshment break

15.10  In Conversation: Reflecting on Artists and Empire
Chaired by Achim Borchardt-Hume, Director of Exhibitions, Tate Modern
• Lubaina Himid, MBE (Artist, Curator, Professor of Contemporary Art at the School Art, Design and Fashion University of Central Lancashire)
• Yinka Shonibare, MBE (Artist and Curator)

16.05  Plenary: Reflecting on the Future
Chaired by Paul Gilroy, Professor of American and English Literature, King’s College London
Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey OBE
Mike Phillips, Novelist, Historian and former curator at Tate
Panellist TBC

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