We started, and now end this year, thinking about care. Thank you to the artists, collaborators, partners and funders who have worked with Autograph in 2021, and to everyone who spent time with us both online and in person. Looking back, there is much to celebrate.
While our gallery remained closed, Autograph proudly launched Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other online with ten commissions by artists based in England and 22 texts responding to the wider contexts of the Covid-19 crisis. We reopened in June with Sharif Persaud: Have You Ever Had, celebrating Persaud’s work exploring identity through his experience of contemporary life and autism. It was a joy to work with our long-term collaborators, Project Art Works in Hastings, on the exhibition and to see them nominated for this year’s Turner Prize. From our local community in Hackney, we showed new works by 25 artists at Submit To Love Studios, and #HackneyIsHome shared experiences of home and migration in the Borough – with elements from the project seen more than 1.9 million times.
You may have also seen Autograph’s work across the UK and abroad: Maxine Walker: Untitled at Midlands Art Centre in Birmingham, Have You Ever Had on tour to De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea, and Sunil Gupta: From Here to Eternity at The Photographers’ Gallery; plus Lina Iris Viktor: Dark Testament at Fotografiska Stockholm, Rotimi Fani-Kayode: Tranquility of Communion with Hales New York, and Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail The Dark Lioness at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens in Florida. We made numerous institutional loans of work from our collection including more than 40 works to Serpentine Galleries’ major James Barnor retrospective, Barbican Centre's touring exhibition Masculinities: Liberation Through Photography, Tate Britain’s Life Between Islands: Caribbean-British Art 1950s – Now, and to New Art Exchange, Museum of Wisconsin Art, and the Museum of Sex. In the press, our work was featured in The Guardian, Aperture, The British Journal of Photography, Hackney Citizen and many more places online and in print.
We also supported the commissioning of Sutapa Biswas’ new film Lumen, which has been exhibited to wide acclaim at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead and Kettle’s Yard at the University of Cambridge; it will have its London premiere at Autograph in 2022. Other earlier commissions also on display this year included John Akomfrah’s The Unfinished Conversation at Tate Britain and Sunil Gupta’s The New Pre-Raphaelites at the Holburne Museum in Bath. We welcomed children with complex needs and their families back to Autograph, as part of our Family SEND programme; and launched a new project breaking down barriers in the creative industries. We commissioned the first book on the legacy of Black women in photography in the UK during the 1980s-90s with Mack Books and Joy Gregory as editor. On our website, we created online image galleries to share selected works from artists exploring issues of race, identity, representation, human rights and social justice through photography, with thousands of pageviews (so far). Autograph blogged more than ever, covering topics including climate justice, the Windrush experience, and dismantling intellectual ableism in the arts.
We were delighted that our book by Sunil Gupta jointly won the 2021 Kraszna-Krausz Photography Book Award, and our monograph of Lina Iris Viktor was winner of the British Book Awards 2021 in the Exhibition Catalogue category. We also introduced Autograph Editions to help raise funds for our arts and learning programmes.
As 2021 closes, Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other is on display at our gallery while sadly Covid-19 again dominates headlines, and issues of care remain of the utmost importance. It’s a theme we will continue to explore in 2022.
Thank you for your support. All of us at Autograph wish you a restful holiday, and we look forward to sharing more with you in the new year.
Dolores Crump and Andrea Thorpe, Friends, 2020. Created for our exhibition Common Threads with Submit to Love Studios
Lina Iris Viktor: Some Are Born To Endless Night — Dark Matter monograph, winner of the British Book Awards 2021, in the Exhibition Catalogue category
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Autograph is a place to see things differently. Since 1988, we have championed photography that explores issues of race, identity, representation, human rights and social justice, sharing how photographs reflect lived experiences and shape our understanding of ourselves and others.Donate Join our mailing list