Whoever Heard Of A Black Artist? Britain’s Hidden Art History 9pm, BBC Two
TOWARDS the end of this excellent documentary, contemporary young black British artists discuss how they were never taught about black artists at school. Their comments echo the archive footage that opens the programme, of young black artists saying much the same thing back in 1982. But as the film explores, the contribution by artists of African and Asian descent to British modern art has been long, rich, strange and strong. The documentary was made to complement an exhibition curated by artist Sonia Boyce (one of the interviewees in the 1980s footage), for which she has scoured the UK’s public art collections to uncover artworks rarely, if ever, displayed. These pieces, and interviews with some of the artists who made them, illustrate a hidden history of British art stretching from the Windrush generation, through the 1960s counterculture, to the radical, politically charged Black Art Movement of the 1980s. The film also considers how these artists were received by an art establishment that too often marginalised them.