Autoportraits was the first exhibition curated and organised by Autograph, featuring new work by artists Monika Baker, Allan deSouza, Joy Gregory, Sunil Gupta, Lyle Harris, Mumtaz Karimjee and Roshini Kempadoo. Self-portraiture was chosen as the first theme to be addressed by an Autograph exhibition, as it is a question photographers often come back to and - by definition - an idea central to Autograph.
The body/self is not photographed, but positioned, worked on. It has become a place of inscription; literally, something to be written upon and 'read'; an 'autograph'
— Professor Stuart Hall
At this time, Autograph did not have a dedicated gallery space and Autoportraits opened at CameraWork before touring to other venues.
The artists in Autoportraits described their work on display for Autograph's March 1990 newsletter: Monica Baker's photographs explored her role as woman/mother and her relationship with a teenaged son in the post-feminist 1990, ''the mystique of the menstruation and its role in child-bearing is enmeshed with child-rearing''. Sunil Gupta addressed issues "that have predominated in the political construction of myself", and Lyle Harris's photographs were "a response to my experience of marginality as a Black gay man". Mumtaz Karimjee stated "Fear - Alienates - The Small Child - Runs - Adult - Dreams - Shatter". Roshini Kempadoo's work concerned "the creation of the self-portrait, belief in the truth of the self and the objectivity of the photographic record disappear simultaneously. It is the creation of the other, the imaginary distortion, playing the game around identity, the form and fiction of identity."
Professor Stuart Hall wrote a new essay, Black Narcissus, to accompany the Autoportraits exhibition.
Autograph's director, Professor Mark Sealy, traces thirty years of advocacy work and its impact on national and international collectionsRead blog post | 8 minute read
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