The result of a seven-year collaboration between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives, Staying Power showcases an extremely wide variety of images by 17 artists. Some are photographs taken by black photographers, while others are snapshots that document the lives of black people in Britain. They range from intimate portrayals of British-Caribbean life in London in the 1960’s and 70’s, to vivid depictions of vibrant youth culture in the 1980’s and 90’s. Also featured are Raphael Albert’s original photographs of the black beauty pageants he organised between 1960 and 1980. These images document the trends in music, style and fashion in the growing black community in Britain at this time.
Featured alongside these insights into black British experience are several more conceptual explorations of race and identity. In particular, look out for Maxine Walker’s Untitled series (1995), which highlights and questions racial stereotypes through a series of self-portraits. Walker presents herself with different skin tones and hairstyles, as though these were instantaneous transformations occurring in a photo booth. Equally fascinating is Yinka Shonibare’s series, Diary of a Victorian Dandy. These photographs expose Shonibare’s identification with the dandy - an outsider who uses his wit, flamboyance and style to penetrate levels of society that would otherwise be inaccessible to him.
Bringing a further dimension to the exhibition, Black Cultural Archives have gathered and curated oral histories from a range of individuals, including the photographers, their relatives, and the subjects of the photos.
Staying Power at the V&A is not to be missed for anyone looking for powerful photography exhibitions in London this Spring.
|What||Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience 1950s-1990s, V&A|
|Where||V&A, South Kensington, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL | MAP|
|Nearest tube||South Kensington (underground)|
16 Feb 15 – 24 May 15, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
|Website||Click here for more details|