Tag: paintings

Soul of a Nation exhibition reminds us why black artists are important


Even though I’m writing this post during Black History Month in the UK, the Soul of a Nation Exhibition at the Tate Modern in London has been on since July. One of the first things I liked – black culture not relegated to Black History Month only. The interest in the exhibition was immense, I managed to go during one of the Uniqlo Tate Lates’ sessions and was glad I booked tickets beforehand.

tate modern pic


It was humbling walking through the white rooms of the Tate, transported back in time to the civil rights movement. I felt the fusion of emotions emitted from the vivid photos and colourful paintings. The artwork captured nuances in anguish, joy and triumph  of black people in America up to and around the Civil Rights Movement.

Permission from the Tate Modern to take pictures of the exhibition.

The riveting exhibition is more than artists being subjective witnesses of a depressing and inspiring period of history. It’s an authentic capture of black history by those who could identify with the subjects emotionally, physically and psychologically (although the exhibition does have work from non-black artists too).

Permission from the Tate Modern to take pictures of the exhibition. Benny Andrews: Did the Bear Sit Under a Tree

A black narrative by black artists.

It’s not impossible to for a non-black person depict a black narrative. However, expressing a reality that was yours or those of your family can only be most accurate through your own gaze. This gave the exhibition a different level of emotional authenticity that the work of black artists took centre stage. I was reminded that black people were standing firmly behind enemy lines during this period.

malcom soul nation
Permission from the Tate Modern to take pictures of the exhibition.

In addition to the art work, there were also televised speeches by prominent people of the movement including writer and activist Angela Davis. A Black Panther Party member, she came to national prominence after being sacked from her teaching post at the University of California due to her claimed communist associations. Her passion for prisoners’ rights goes back to the 1970 free the ‘Soledad Brothers’ campaign, which led to her own imprisonment. This caused a catalyst of events, most notably the ‘Free Angela Davis’ campaign, which helped drive her acquittal in 1972.

Through the Soul of a Nation exhibition…

I appreciated the tenacity of black people, who created a movement renowned globally without the use of social media and so profound that I and many others are still writing about it in 2017.

Permission from the Tate Modern to take pictures of the exhibition.

I appreciated the courage of black people, harnessing the strength to smile thorough oppression.

I appreciated the intellect black people exhibited when navigating a system that was setup to destroy them.

Permission from the Tate Modern to take pictures of the exhibition.

And of course, when there seemed to be no hope, when it looked like there was no light at the end of the tunnel, I appreciated the fact that black people didn’t stop, many fought literally until death, for freedom, for equality, to be considered human.

Carolyn Mims: Black Children Keep Your Spirits Free 1972.

Sadly, the exhibition ends on 22nd October, so if you’re in London whatever your race, I recommend it! Remember black history is world history so it’s for everyone!

soul of a nation
Image: Barkley Hendricks: Icon For My Superman (Superman Never Saved Any Black People) Bobby Seale 1969


After the exhibition we were (of course) carefully led by the way the exhibition was laid out, to the dedicated shop. This was actually quite a nice surprise because there was so much black literature, some titles I’d heard of and others I hadn’t. It was like being in a sweet shop but it was a book shop lol.


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Hyperrealist Art – A Nigerian Perspective

When I first saw these pictures on social media, I thought they were photos. As soon as realised they were actually paintings, I understood why social media was going crazy over them!

The oil paintings by Lagos-born Nigerian artist Oresegun Olumide, is definitely making us all take note of Nigerian artists. Working as a professional artist since 2005, water features prominently in Oresegun’s work because “water has no enemy”. The African art scene is taking shape and reaching beyond the shores of the continent. African artist are having their say.

Oresegun Olumide, fine art, African art, African artists
Oresegun Olumide artwork



oresegun pic

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What do you call it… urban?

During the hottest weekend in London this year (13th-14th July) so far, Josephine Avenue in South London was the canvas for numerous artists during the annual alfresco Urban Art Fair 2013. I went on day one and was first greeted by street artists spray painting a train and later by an eclectic mix of paintings, photography, mixed media and sculptures. Despite running for over a decade, this was actually the first time I heard of the Urban Art Fair; one of the exhibiting artists, Merley Okine invited me. I guess it’s called urban art because of the location in the heart of Brixton, but walking along the winding road of Josephine Avenue surrounded by dense foliage, it was easy to believe I was out somewhere in suburbia; it was nice to see different interpretations of personal creativity. Freshly prepared by a French crêpe maker from the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, I continued strolling along eating my Belgian chocolate crêpe, I shared with a friend and just admired the creations. There were gaps during my admiration where I remembered my traumatic artistic teenage years. Yes, memories of my school art lessons came back to haunt me. I’ll admit that I am not the best drawer but I tried, however I never got that elusive ‘A’ or ‘B’ for effort! Anyway, as I have forgiven my art teacher :-), let’s have a look at people who probably did get A’s for art at school:

Photos: All pictures taken on my mobile (Artist details below)

On arrival – Street Artists http://www.urbanart.co.uk
On arrival – Street Artists

Continue reading “What do you call it… urban?”