Autograph is loaning 3 photographs from our collection by artists Raphael Albert and Rotimi Fani-Kayode to Somerset House, for their exhibition The Missing Thread.
The exhibition brings together for the first time the recent and lesser-known histories of Black British fashion. Conceived and curated by BOLD (Black Orientated Legacy Development), the exhibition will celebrate the achievements of Black British designers and creatives and provide long overdue recognition of their contributions to and influence on mainstream culture and society. Spanning from the 1970s to the present, The Missing Thread will tell the stories of several generations of fashion, design, and cultural creativity, set alongside key periods and movements in British history and culture, with an additional focus on the influence and legacy of eminent designer Joe Casely-Hayford.
Raphael Albert (1935-2009) was born on the Caribbean island of Grenada. After moving to London in 1953, he studied photography at Ealing Technical College whilst working part-time at Lyons cake factory. Albert soon became a freelance photographer working for black British newspapers such as West Indian World – for whom one of his first assignments was documenting Miss Jamaica – as well as The Gleaner, Caribbean Times and New World.
In 1970 he established the popular Miss Black and Beautiful contest, followed by Miss West Indies in Great Britain, Miss Teenager of the West Indies in Great Britain and Miss Grenada. In addition to his production company Albert Promotions, he also founded his own magazine Charisma in 1984, and the associated Albert’s Girl Academy of Modelling. Albert remained committed to documenting the West Indian communities in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham throughout his life, taking home-studio portrait photographs for local families, and avidly documenting weddings, christenings, and other social events.
In 2007 Albert co-organised a Black History Month display of his and other photographers’ work entitled Miss West Indies in Great Britain: Celebrating 30 Years of Beauty Pageants (1963-1993) at the Hammersmith and Fulham Information Centre. His work is now represented in the national collections of the V&A and Tate Britain.
A founding signatory and one of the first chairs of Autograph, Fani-Kayode was actively engaged in the Black British art scene during the 1980s.
His photographs have been exhibited internationally since 1985, with numerous solo and group exhibitions in Europe, America and Africa. In 2003, his work featured in the African Pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale, Italy and today his works are represented in major public and private collectors including Tate, Guggenheim Museum; Victoria & Albert Museum; The Walther Collection; The Hutchins Center; Kiasma-Museum of Contemporary Art; and the collection of Yinka Shonibare CBE, amongst others.
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