In the two decades before the end of the millennium, Black female photographers and artists played a significant role in shaping the cultural landscape of the UK, fostering a radical and unique voice that was a key driving force of the independent art scene of the 1980s and 1990s.
With their work largely underrepresented across established institutions, publishers and art dealers, these women came to embody a spirit of self-organisation and community, curating their own exhibitions, events and publications. Artists include Poulomi Desai, Addela Khan, Ingrid Pollard, Maud Sulter, Maxine Walker and many others.
In June 2019, Joy Gregory gave an illustrated gallery lecture at Autograph about this legacy. At this sold-out event, she shared the cultural landscape at the time and some of the artists creating work. Systemic archiving before the internet was an unaffordable luxury for many, and the domain of museums and institutions. As a result, much of this history has gone uncollected and unarchived.
We have partnered with independent visual art publisher MACK to produce the first book dedicated to this legacy, with Joy Gregory as editor. For the first time, Shining Lights will present a broad review of the key artists of the time, offering a unique record of this radical and ground-breaking period of British photographic history.
This project is ongoing, and we will share our progress here. Keep up-to-date by joining our mailing list, and following us on Instagram and Twitter.
Earlier this summer, MACK recruited a researcher / assistant editor for the Shining Lights book. Thank you to everyone who applied, and helped us spread the word about the opportunity.
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You can take the survey here. Thank you!
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