Mon­day

Who­ever Heard Of A Black Artist? Bri­tain’s Hid­den Art His­tory 9pm, BBC Two

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - Tv & Radio -

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.

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